Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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On the Christmas Tree Hunt: Part 2

Thanks for joining me for Part 2 of this post!  To see Part 1, click here.  As you likely know, Maine is the Pine Tree State.  So, in what better state could you find the perfect Christmas tree?

Balsam firs at Tiffany Farm in Medford, ME (about an hour outside Bangor)

Balsam firs at Tiffany Farm in Medford, ME (about an hour outside Bangor)

Historically, people did what I remember so fondly as a child – selecting a tree from the forest.  Today, however, 98% of Christmas trees are plantation-grown, which means most of us are either buying them pre-cut from a tree stand, where the trees have been delivered after being cut down, or we’re going to the plantations and selecting a tree on-site.  I found it interesting to learn that Christmas tree plantations are a benefit to the environment in many ways – for example, just one acre of these trees provides enough oxygen for 18 people daily (per the Maine Christmas Tree Association).  Very cool!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Balsam fir is the tree found most commonly on Maine’s Christmas tree plantations because it is the state’s native fir tree.  Many of the following tree plantations feature primarily Balsams, but I’ve made an effort to find and include those with other tree species as well.

If you live in the Bangor area, Tiffany Farm may be a good option for your tree.  They grow the Balsam firs shown above.  Their farm is located at 89 Fire Tower Road, Medford, ME 04463, and fresh-cut trees are available at 490 North Road, Medford, ME.  Give them a call at 207-732-6127.

Evergreen Acres Tree Farm in North Monmouth, Maine (not far from Augusta) offers both Balsam firs and Douglas firs. They boast a family-friendly atmosphere including free hot cocoa, popcorn, and candy.  All trees are $25, all wreathes $20.  They can be found at 208 Back Street, North Monmouth, ME 04265.  Reach them by phone at 207-212-0056.  They’re open from 9am – 4pm Friday – Sunday.

In York, Maine, you can find Cider Hill Creek Farms, where they have a variety of tree species including the Fraser fir, Balsam fir, and Bue spruce – three of the most popular Christmas tree varieties.  They offer free hot chocolate and visitors may also get a peek at their 6-year-old American Quarter Horse, Clarise.  Their address is 6 Cider Hill Creek Lane, York, ME 03909, and their phone number is 207-475-5068.

Balsam Ridge, in Raymond, Maine, also offers a variety of trees – the Balsam fir, Fraser fir, and Blue spruce.  In addition to offering pre-cut Balsams, they also have “choose & cut” for selecting your fresh tree – and they don’t stop there.  Balsam Ridge has their own sugarhouse and gift shop, where they offer a variety of maple sugar products, including maple butter, maple cream, candy, and of course, their own maple syrup.  Like Cider Hill, they have a horse on-site for the kiddies to get in a quick petting session.  They’re located at 140 Egypt Road, Raymond, ME 04071, and can be reached by phone at 207-655-4474.

Balsam Ridge Maple Sugar Products

Balsam Ridge Maple Sugar Products

There are, of course, many more Christmas tree plantations in Maine.  To see more, check out this page from the Maine Christmas Tree Association to view a listing of 60 tree farms.  On that note, the Maine Christmas Tree Association provides excellent information on tree plantations and caring for your Christmas tree.  They helped me a lot as I was researching for this post.  If you need more info than the above, I recommend checking it out!

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On the Christmas Tree Hunt: Part 1

Welcome to December!  In the spirit of the month, let’s talk about how and where to find your Christmas tree in Maine (to give credit where it’s due, my husband gave me the idea for this post – thanks honey!).  When I was a little girl, we would go out into the forest and cut down our own.  That’s the beauty of living on 20+ acres in the country.  I have fond memories of putting on my boots, hat, neckwarmer, mittens… and the list goes on… and then trekking out with the rest of the family, through the woods, across streams (some larger than others), and ultimately to the meadow where we would begin our search.  As romantic as this annual event is in my memory, the reality is that finding the perfect tree is a challenge – particularly when you are small and trying to identify the perfect top of a tree, which is waving 60+ feet above your head.  Having said that, I’d do it every year if I could.

I’ve broken this topic into two parts due to length – today, I’ll share information about the popular species of Christmas trees, and tomorrow, you’ll learn where to go to find your perfect tree in Maine (unless you have 20 acres, a chainsaw, and a 4-wheeler at your disposal – in which case you don’t require my assistance).

There are a variety of trees that are popular as Christmas trees – they include firs, pines, and spruces.  We’ll cover: the Balsam Fir, the Fraser Fir, the Douglas Fir, the White Pine, and the Blue Spruce.  Now that could get a little confusing. To help you sort out what’s right for you, I’ve included thumbnails and brief descriptions below:

Balsam-Fir - Mathisen Tree FarmsThe Balsam Fir is the traditional Christmas tree selection, which most of us grew up with.  It also happens to be the native fir for the state of Maine, and the most prevalent tree grown on Maine’s Christmas tree farms.  The Balsam fir has an attractive form, an appealing fragrance, and a beautiful dark green color.  With this species, check the branches to ensure they’re strong enough to hold heavier ornaments.

The FFraser Fir - Our Treeraser Fir is what Nick and I have in our house – so this picture is of our tree!  It seems to be a very popular tree here in NC – in fact, I haven’t seen tree stands with any other species of tree around – which could be due to its discovery in the 1700s by botanist John Fraser, who explored the southern Appalachians.  Some consider the Fraser fir the perfect holiday tree – it has an ideal shape, a nice scent, good needle retention, and firm branches that are able to hold heavier ornaments.

douglas-fir-300The Douglas Fir is a beautiful tree whose branches grow thick – potentially making it a challenge to decorate if it’s been pruned into a too-conical shape.  When crushed, these needles have one of the best aromas among Christmas trees.

white pineThe White Pine is the state tree of Maine and is the largest pine tree in the United States.  The needles are long – 2-5 inches, and it has almost no fragrance, which makes it a good choice for those with allergies.  Its branches are popular for wreathes and garlands due to their flexibility, but may not hold up to heavier ornaments.

colorado_blue_spruce-2006The Blue Spruce is a beautiful tree, and happens to be the species of tree used in Monument Square.  Its branches are stiff and will support many heavy decorations.  It’s known for it’s lovely blue foliage, which can appear silvery.  It also tends to have a very symmetrical shape.

While these are the five species I chose to feature, there are many more.  I hope you found this overview helpful, and come back tomorrow for information on where to get your tree in Maine!