Promising new Christmas tree variety undergoing trials

In Christmas tree circles, 2031 might just be a year to get excited about. That’s the year that a new Christmas tree progeny trial will reach harvest (evaluation) size.

Some background on this new test. A recent Trojan and Turkish fir experiment turned up a new species of tree with promise. That is Trojan fir. It looks like Turkish fir but grows in a region of Turkey far to the south and west of native Turkish fir.

There were 10 trees that were collected in Turkey that were the top performing trees out of 100 collected. Thanks to a grant from the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, seed collectors in Turkey returned to the specific trees and collected seed. That seed will be part of a new trial.

Seed will also be collected from outstanding Nordmann fir in the Republic of Georgia, again funded by the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. Outstanding-looking trees have been selected for seed collection.

All in all, around 30 fir seed sources including noble, Fraser, Balsam, Canaan, Nordmann, Turkish and Trojan fir will be grown at Silva Seed Nursery in Roy, Washington. After two years in the nursery, the seedlings will be planted at 11 or so sites around the U.S. from Connecticut to Oregon.

Traits that will be evaluated include growth, bud-break timing, frost tolerance, quality, needle retention, cold hardiness, and of course, how they look as a Christmas tree in a home. That will conclude around 2031.

These will likely be the next set of trees that will be used in future seed orchards to keep the industry moving forward with new trees and new ideas.

Previously titled
Christmas Tree Corner: 2031 Is Just Around the Corner

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