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Consumers Influence Christmas Tree Styles

Date:
November 20, 2008
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The Fraser fir is gaining popularity among American consumers looking for beautiful, long-lasting Christmas trees. Consumers favor Fraser fir for its conical shape, dark green foliage, pleasant aroma and excellent needle retention.

Advanced techniques may produce "European style" trees to meet consumer demands.
Credit: M. Elizabeth Rutledge

The Fraser fir is gaining popularity among American consumers looking for beautiful, long-lasting Christmas trees. Consumers favor Fraser fir for its conical shape, dark green foliage, pleasant aroma, and excellent needle retention.

Consumer surveys indicate that the shape of a tree is the most important factor affecting Christmas tree selection, followed by needle retention, species, and price. Traditionally, Americans have preferred dense trees, whereas Europeans have preferred more natural, or "open" trees. Open trees have more space to hang ornaments, holding up to two-thirds more decorations than heavily sheared trees, and tend to weigh less than dense trees, providing advantages for growers and consumers alike.

Researchers and Christmas tree growers are working to shape Fraser firs that satisfy public preferences. M. Elizabeth Rutledge, a graduate student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources North Carolina State University, is the primary author of a recent study of shearing techniques on Fraser fir.

Rutledge and her collaborators evaluated the use on Fraser fir of the Top-Stop Nipper (TSN) a four-bladed, hand-held tool used to reduce growth in Christmas trees. They found that the TSN, when combined with traditional knife shearing or growth regulator treatments, "might offer a method to produce dense trees with minimal shearing or to leave longer leaders to produce a more open "European-style" tree with a layered, natural appearance.

According to the study, published in the April 2008 issue of HortTechnology, use of the Top-Stop Nipper shows promise for tree growers, but "there is so much variation among trees that the effect of the TSN on long-term appearance, quality, and marketability of Fraser firs is yet unknown." One thing is certain: Americans can look forward to new and improved holiday decorating as researchers and growers listen to consumer preferences and create ways to produce picture-perfect Christmas trees.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rutledge, M. Elizabeth, Frampton, John, Hinesley, L. Eric, Blank, Gary. Top-Stop Nipper Reduces Leader Growth in Fraser Fir Christmas Trees. HortTechnology, 18: 196-319 (2008) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Consumers Influence Christmas Tree Styles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104605.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2008, November 20). Consumers Influence Christmas Tree Styles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104605.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Consumers Influence Christmas Tree Styles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104605.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

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