The Balsam Fir is a beautiful dark-green color with airy, flexible branches that may not be able to hold heavy ornaments. It has an attractive form, it holds its needles well, and gives off a pleasant fragrance for your home.
First described in 1768, balsam fir is a medium-sized tree generally reaching 40-60 feet in height and 1-1 1/2 feet in diameter. It exhibits a relatively dense, dark-green, pyramidal crown with a slender spire-like tip. The scientific name "balsamea" is an ancient word for the balsam tree, so named because of the many resinous blisters found in the bark. Balsam fir and Fraser fir have many similar characteristics, although geographic ranges of the two species do not overlap.
On lower branches needles generally occur as two-ranked (two rows along sides of the branch), 3/4 - 1 1/2 inches long, spreading and not crowded. On older branches, the needles tend to be shorter and curved upward so as to cover the upper sides of the twigs. Individual needles are somewhat flat and may be blunt or notched at the end. Needles have a broad circular base and are usually dark green on the upper surface, lighter on the lower surface. Two silvery bands of stomata (pores) are found on the lower surface.
When you pick up your tree, or it is delivered, a fresh cut has been made at the bottom of the trunk. The fresh cut removes any “sap cap” that has developed since it was originally harvested and allows the tree to uptake water.
Your tree needs to get in water - nothing fancy, room temp tap water works - ASAP. If you can’t put it in the stand or get it in the house right away, put it in a bucket of tap water in the garage or somewhere safe from freezing.
Occasionally trees don’t want to uptake water, even with a fresh cut. Let your tree sit in the stand for a day before you put your ornaments on just in case… bonus for your patience: branches relax after the tree is unwrapped so waiting actually makes decorating easier.
Trees are thirsty. Check that stand often and refill - particularly at the beginning. Your tree will start to slow water consumption over time. But those thirsty first few hours/days are critical for a long-lasting, happy tree.
Speaking of long lasting… a well cared for tree can last, without drying out, 4-6 weeks. Like all living things, some might last longer, some shorter. Nature is hard to predict.
Sorry to burst your bubble but any of the “tricks” you may have heard for tree longevity - adding aspirin to the tree’s water, seven-up, gin - don’t really work. Plain old Chicago’s Finest room temperature tap water is what you want. [You can, however, mix the 7-up and gin into a cocktail for yourself and take the aspirin the next morning…]
If your tree is stubborn and won’t take water after 48 hours, let us know and we’ll replace it.