Christmas Tree Varieties and Grades

Our Christmas trees arrived today after being harvested on the farm in Quebec earlier this week. Our guys are busy creating a Christmas tree forest in the yard. People often ask about the types and grades we sell, so here’s a quick explanation.

Balsam Fir

The Balsam is one of the great traditional New England Christmas trees and is for sure the most fragrant of all varieties. It is the choice of many traditionalists and of those who prize house-filling aroma above all else. Balsams are a little less expensive than other types.

Fraser Fir

It’s a close relative of the Balsam with a pleasing scent. Superior needle retention has made the Fraser our best-selling tree. With strong, well spaced branches, the Fraser is also a good choice for people who like to hang lots of ornaments.

Cook’s Blue

A couple of new varieties and crosses have entered the market recently. These combine some of the best traits of Balsams and Frasers. We added one of these, called Cook’s Blue, to our lineup last year, and the feedback was enthusiastic. Cook’s Blue is distinguished by blue-tinged needles, has good aroma, good needle retention, and strong, well-spaced branches. Due to the response last year, we’re stocking more Cook’s Blues this year.


All of our trees are premium or #1 grade–these are the best quality available. Premium trees are the very best. They are dense, uniformly conical in shape, and have no major flaws. #1 grade trees are slightly less dense but still have good shape and no more than one noticeable flaw on one side only. As that flaw is usually easily hidden against a wall, #1 trees represent good value while still being excellent trees.

We sometimes sell out of certain types and sizes as the season progresses, but one thing we are proud of is consistent quality. We believe that the last 50 trees we sell are comparable in quality to the first 50 sold.

A much younger Joe Quinnan, owner of Hillcrest Gardens, shows off a Christmas tree in 1984.