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Save Money with a Native Christmas Tree

Buying a holiday tree that grows naturally in your region can cost less and save you headaches long after you toss the tinsel

Save Money with a Native Christmas Tree

You can increase the chances of a live Christmas tree thriving in your landscape long past the holidays by selecting one that's native to your area. And because the local trees haven't been shipped from faraway places, they are typically cheaper, too. "Trees struggle to survive when planted where they wouldn't naturally grow," says Tchukki Andersen, an arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. She suggests picking a species that's from your particular hardiness zone: The U.S. is divided into nine of them, based on average annual low temperature. You can figure out your zone by typing your zip code into the Arbor Day website.

Next, print out our primer on conifers that are known to grow in your region and bring it to your local tree farm or nursery. Simply pick a tree off the list. Or better yet, show it to a knowledgeable salesperson, so he or she can help you winnow the choices down to one tree that's just right for your landscape—and your holiday celebrations.

Northeast: Pine

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

White Pine

Pinus strobes

One of the most popular Christmas trees, and with soft needles could be safer around small children.

Other Northeast pines:

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)

Other regions for white pine: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Nebraska/Oklahoma

Northeast: Fir

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Balsam Fir

Abies balsamea

Northeast classic, the Balsam Fir's has dark green needles, needles that stay put, and is very fragrant.

Other Northeast firs:

Fraser fir (Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.)

Northeast: Spruce

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

White Spruce

Picea glauca

The bluish green needles tend to cluster on the upper half of the branches and likes moist, loamy soils found near streams and shorelines.

Other Northeast spruces:

Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens Engelm.)

Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karsten)

Northeast: Hemlock

Photo by Paul Barney

Canadian Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis

This evergreen is a good choice for screening once outside and is a haven for deer and songbirds.

Mid-Atlantic: Fir

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a><br />

Fraser Fir

Abies fraseri

A Fraser's needles are typically 3/4 of an inch long with a shiny dark green top and silvery bottom.

Other region for fraser fir: Northeast

Mid-Atlantic: Pine

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Virginia Pine

Pinus virginiana

The classic pine scent of the Virginia makes it a popular choice inside the house, and it responds well to trimming making it a good choice for a landscape.

Other Mid-Atlantic pine:

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

South: Pine

Photo by Bio 406d at the <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/" target="_blank">University of Texas</a> at Austin

Loblolly Pine

Pinus taeda

This fast growing pine usually delivers a straight trunk with needles that turn light green to brown during winter.

South: Pine

Spruce Pine

Pinus glabra

Also called cedar or Walter pine, the spruce pine does well near water, with foliage that resembles the white pine.

South: Pine

Photo by Public Domain (USDA)

Shortleaf Pine

Pinus glabra

This pine grows best in deep, well drained soils composed of sandy or silty loam.

Other Southern pines:

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris )

Sand pine (Pinus clausa)

South: Cypress

Photo by <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/" target="_blank">Ragesoss</a>

Arizona Cypress

Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica

This cypress has plenty of smaller needles and its color ranges from pale green to gray green.

Midwest: Pine

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

Also called Scotch, this pine had a dark green color and stiff branches that won't buckle under heavy lighting and ornamentation

Other regions for scots pine: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Nebraska/Oklahoma, Rocky Mountain

Nebraska/Oklahoma: Fir

Photo by courtesy of Steven E. Clemants, <a href="http://www.bbg.org" target="_blank">Brooklyn Botanic Garden</a>

Douglas Fir

Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca

Needle color are either dark green or blue green and emit a sweet scent when crushed.

Other regions for douglas fir: Midwest, West, Pacific Northwest

Rocky Mountain: Spruce

Photo by courtesy of Steven E. Clemants, <a href="http://www.bbg.org" target="_blank">Brooklyn Botanic Garden</a>

Colorado Blue Spruce

Picea pungens Engelm.

Blue spruces reach heights of 65 to 115 feet outdoors, but the narrow, pyramidal shape makes it a Christmas tree favorite.

Other regions for Colorado blue spruce: Northeast, Midwest, West

Rocky Mountain: Pine

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

Other Rocky Mountain pines:

White pine (Pinus strobes)

Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)

Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Other regions for scots pine: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Nebraska/Oklahoma

West: Fir

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Concolor Fir

Abies concolor

Sometimes called a white fir, the Concolor has needles that are usually ½ to 1½ inches long with a pointed or notched tip.

Other Western fir:

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)

Pacific Northwest: Fir

Photo by <a href="http://www.realchristmastrees.org" target="_blank">The National Christmas Tree Association</a>

Noble Fir

Abies procera

Reaching over 200 feet high in the wild, the smooth barked fir has bluish-green needles that appear silver.

Other region for noble fir: West