Most of the Christmas trees available here are pines and spruces. The most noticeable difference between them is simple: Pines have soft needles whereas spruces have prickly ones. This makes handling them less pleasant. In addition, spruces drop more needles than pines, which usually only lose a few needles.
The freshness of a cut Christmas tree can be seen from the freshness of the cut - but this is something that's easy only for experts to detect. Spruces which are already dropping lots of needles are guaranteed to be less fresh, as are pines whose branch tips are already shrivelling. As local Christmas tree dealers do not have to sell local trees but can just as easily import them, you must take a closer look to assess how fresh the trees on offer really are. Of course, the freshest Christmas trees come directly from the plantation where they grew.
The best way to store the tree you buy until you are ready to decorate it is outside, preferably in a dry place such as the garage.
Christmas tree stands that allow you to add water keep trees fresher. Christmas tree stands with a pedal-operated clamp are easier to handle: Position the stand, fix the clamp into position and you're done! Get your Christmas tree dealer to cut the trunk of your tree to the diameter of your stand so that you do not have to attack it at home with a saw and axe.
The following information is important for Christmas trees with root balls, whether from a nursery or your own garden: You must acclimatise your tree to living room temperatures during its actual winter resting period step by step (e.g. outside at 0°C, then in the garage/cellar at 10°C, and lastly in the living room at 20°C). And do not forget to keep it moist! Repeat the process in reverse when returning the tree to the garden. This gives you a realistic chance of the tree surviving its wintry trip to your Christmas living room. There are also striking differences in quality when it comes to Christmas trees with root balls:
Variant 1: The tree was cultivated without being replanted regularly. It was then dug out and forced into a plastic plant container. This results in severed roots which are about the width of a finger. They often even extend out of the pot.
Variant 2: The tree was replanted regularly and was thus able to form a lot of roots in the tightest of spaces; when the tree and its solid root ball are transferred to the new planting location, it can therefore grow better than Variant 1 trees. The amount of weeds in plant containers and root balls is also a quality factor.