The holidays are here in Plano, Texas, and the sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere! And what is the yuletide season without a Christmas tree? This beloved evergreen has been a symbol of the holiday season throughout the world since the 16th century. But how much do we really know about these timeless saplings? Read on and find out some of the most interesting facts about the tree we’ve all grown to love.
First, Not All Evergreens Are Conifers
There are two types of trees in the world, coniferous and deciduous. Trees that shed their leaves are called deciduous such as oak, apple, and elm trees. Many people commonly refer to conifers as evergreens, but this is not correct because not all conifers are evergreen. Trees and shrubs considered conifers produce a cone to hold their seeds rather than a flower. While most conifers are evergreens, there are exceptions, such as holly shrubs, laurel shrubs, and azalea shrubs.
Trees that keep their leaves year-round are considered evergreens found on every continent except for Antarctica. The leaves of evergreens are usually thicker and more leathery than those of deciduous trees, and many have needles.
How Did the First Christmas Tree Come About?
While two cities argue about the use of the first documented Christmas tree, historians say that it probably began about 1,000 years ago in northern Europe. Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia both claim they had the first tree, with Tallinn suggesting they started in 1441 and Riga touting they began in 1510. Many early Christmas trees were actually hung upside down from the ceiling using chains hung from chandeliers.
Evergreens Have Been Used in Winter Festivals for Thousands of Years
Evergreens have been used in pagan celebrations long before the arrival of Christianity in Europe. Pagan cultures used branches of evergreens in their homes around the winter solstice, when the days started to get longer again. Because many evergreens keep their leaves throughout the cold, dreary winter, they symbolized the hope that spring would soon arrive. When Christianity eventually became the main religion in Europe, Christians continued to use evergreens to celebrate utilizing the tree to symbolize everlasting life with Jesus.
Common Evergreens Used for Christmas Trees
Approximately 1,000 acres of the United States is used for farming Christmas trees. For Christmas, the most common trees used here in Plano, Texas, are balsam fir, douglas fir, blue spruce, white spruce, and the Eastern white pine.
Balsam fir is typically picked for its strong, spicy scent and soft green needles. Douglas fir has dark, blue-green, green needles that are soft to the touch. It also tends to be nice and full, making it a great showpiece in your living room. The blue spruce has a silver tint to its needles, making it an excellent choice for those looking for something different. Its stiff branches help hang those heavier ornaments but watch out; its sharp needles can hurt when handling. The white spruce has an excellent blueish green color and short, stiff needles that leave an unpleasant scent if crushed.
And while the Eastern white pine is a favorite because of its delicate, feminine look, its soft, flexible needles are not the best for hanging ornaments.
Not All Evergreens Are Green
There is no specific color to an evergreen. While most of us think of evergreens in terms of being dark green, their colors can range from dark and light green to blue, as in the white spruce, silver as in the blue spruce, and even grey.
Most Tropical Plants Are Actually Evergreens
The majority of tropical plants are actually evergreens. The soil in tropical rainforests is relatively low in nutrients, and unlike their deciduous counterparts, evergreens grow well in poor soil.
Terpenes produce the Evergreen Smell
The chemical that gives evergreens their citrus and distinct scents is called terpene. The smaller terpenes known as monoterpenes distinguish between citrus and evergreen scents. The monoterpene that creates the unique piney scent is appropriately called Pinene.
You Can Gauge Humidity By Looking At A Pine Cone
Pine cones mainly exist to keep the seeds dry and protect them from the elements. When the weather is drier, the pine cone will open up so the seeds can disperse. When the air is high in humidity, the cones will close up to keep out moisture. Next time you want to know if it’s humid outside your Plano, Texas home, just check out your evergreen pine cones.
Protect and Maintain Your Plano Trees and Shrubs With Help From the Professionals at Lawns-4-U.
Now that you know everything there is to know about our effervescent evergreens, maybe it’s time to plant a few around your Plano area landscape. The professionals at Lawns-4-U can help. As the premier lawn care service company in Texas, we recognize that your trees and shrubs have different needs than your lawn. Our eight-step tree and shrub care program can help promote the healthy growth of all your trees and shrubs while protecting them against insects and diseases.
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