Does Your Christmas Tree Have Good Genes?

12:26 minutes

Christmas trees. Photo by Tom Simpson/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Christmas trees. Photo by Tom Simpson/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One sign of the Christmas season is the tree lots that start popping up. Each person has ideas about what makes the perfect pine or a festive fir—a conical shape, a sharp woodsy smell, or an apartment-friendly size, perhaps. Plant pathologist Gary Chastagner is studying one trait in particular: how well trees hold onto their needles. Conifers, for example, shed their needles for various environmental reasons. Chastagner shares what trees are better at retaining their foliage, along with tips for caring for your Christmas tree.

Segment Guests

Gary Chastagner

Gary Chastagner is a professor of Plant Pathology at Washington State University in Puyallup, Washington.

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim was a senior producer for Science Friday. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.

Explore More

A Christmas Tree Grows In Oregon

The country's Christmas tree capital is Oregon, where Douglas and noble firs reign thanks to accommodating climate and soil.

Read More