Daniel Weitoish, an arborist at Cornell Botanic Gardens, says the Norway spruce is an excellent choice for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
“The Norway spruce is an excellent choice of species for Rockefeller Center. Because the Norway spruce grows fast, finding a large tree is far easier and more practical than for other species, and it displays the classic pyramidal shape favored for Christmas trees.
“While not native to New York State, the Norway spruce thrives here and plays an important role. Due to its stately beauty and fast growth, the Norway spruce often is used to hide ugly things, such as power transformers and construction sites, obscuring the unaesthetic with a sustainable, natural screen.
“The Norway spruce may seem mundane, because they are so ubiquitous, yet the species is meaningful both economically and culturally. Every year, the city of Oslo, Norway donates a Norway spruce to the citizens of Britain for the country’s contributions to Norway during World War II. The tree stands in London’s Trafalgar Square. Norway spruce trees may also live hundreds of years: a tree from Sweden was once hailed as the oldest tree in the world at over 9,550 (Old Tjikko).
“The funny thing about Norway spruce is that they don’t make particularly great Christmas trees in homes. They lose their sharp needles easily if not properly cared for once cut and are mostly middle of the road with other traits like color, fragrance, and branch rigidity for ornament support. More than anything, it is tradition and availability that made the tree such a popular choice.
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