One of the most traditional native Christmas trees of the south offers a great cedar smell.
The Eastern red cedar.
But some, like Joey Williamson, aren’t fans.
“It gets very prickly and prickles the dickens out of you when you take the tree down.” he said when called on Wednesday to talk about tree varieties.
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He prefers the Fraser fir.
Williamson, a horticulture extension agent at Clemson University, said from his experience that most people want firs for their holiday trees, but you won’t find those at Lowcountry cut-your-own tree farms because “it gets too hot (for them to grow).”
But if that’s the tree you’re looking for, you’re in luck.
Milledge Morris, owner of The Family Tree Christmas Tree Farm on Lady’s Island, has been planting and selling trees since 1981. Morris has a variety of trees, five of which are grown at his farm. It takes anywhere from seven to nine years to grow a tree before it can be harvested for the holidays.
He also has the popular Fraser fir — shipped from North Carolina.
It may not be a tree that you cut down, but the tree farm still offers the experience.
Here is a breakdown of trees that you’ll be able to find if you don’t wait till the last minute:
While the heat of the Lowcountry keeps it from being grown here, it remains one of the most popular tree varieties for the holidays. Most tree stands and farms have them shipped in to meet the demand.
▪ Branch strength: Strong, thick branches make it a good tree for heavy ornaments and lights. The wood of the fir is quite dense, and that makes the tree heavy.
▪ Scent: Pungent, less aromatic
▪ Needle type: Soft, short needles
EASTERN RED CEDAR
Traditional native Christmas tree of the South with a wonderful aroma but prickly needles.
▪ Branch strength: Thick foliage. Weak, thin branches. Good for small lights and light ornaments, thin-strand garland.
▪ Scent: Strong cedar smell
▪ Needle type: Flat, prickly needles
Popular tree grown in the south for Christmas trees. With plenty of fresh water, the tree will stay fresh through the holiday season.
▪ Branch strength: Thick foliage and medium to light branch thickness. Light ornaments and small lights are recommended.
▪ Scent: Lemon, mint aroma
▪ Needle type: Soft, little needle drop
A native of the South and a widely grown Christmas tree that is very sturdy.
▪ Branch strength: Strong branches that can handle heavy ornaments and lights
▪ Scent: Pine scent
▪ Needle type: Soft, short needles no more than two inches long
A variety of the Leyland cypress, this tree drops few needles and, with plenty of water, will stay fresh through the holidays.
▪ Branch strength: Dense foliage, with medium to light branches. Ornaments and lights should be moderately sized.
▪ Scent: Lemon, mint aroma
▪ Needle type: Soft, flat needles
A sturdy, slow growing tree that has soft, blue-green needles. The tree is about 25-30 percent lighter than the Leyland cypress.
▪ Branch strength: Decorates well with light ornaments
▪ Scent: Pleasant pine smell
▪ Needle type: Long, 3- to 4-inch soft needles in clusters at the ends of branches
Sources: South Carolina Christmas Tree Association, The Family Tree Christmas Tree Farm