Understanding the Difference in Christmas Tree Foliage
Artificial Christmas Tree Branches and Needles
and needles have a great impact on the look of a tree. For a
traditional realistic-looking tree, quality should be judged by
carefully noting the appearance, including density, length, thickness,
shape, color, and overall realism of needles and branches. The best
trees will have longer, thicker, and sculpted needles and branches.
Lower end trees have shorter and sparser needles, with branches cut off
instead of sculpted.
Tip Count vs. Density
shopping for trees, you'll find that the tip count is often included in
tree descriptions. More important than tip count is the density of
branches and needles. For a traditional appearance, you should not be
able to see through to the inside of the tree, and there should be
enough outer branches to hang your ornaments. Needles should have a lush
and thick appearance on the branches.
are two main material choices for realistic-looking branches and
needles: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), the more common choice, or newer
Polyethylene (PE). Either material, when high grade and manufactured
well, is a great choice, though each will create a somewhat different
Classic Needles -
Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC): High grade PVC manufactured to top standards
is a sound choice for realistic Christmas artificial trees. In making
the needles, PVC is pressed into thin sheets, also called film, of
varying thickness, or gauge. Higher gauge film, which makes more
crush-resistant tips, is used in higher quality trees. The film is cut
into thin strips which become the needles for the branches. In more
expensive trees, the needles will have sculpted tips for a more natural
look; cheaper trees will have square cut ends. Another quality
consideration is the ply of the material: top of the line trees will use
two or more plies of high grade PVC for the needles. The PVC is
attached to wire to form the branches. The wire should be heavy gauge,
in order to provide enough strength to hold even your heaviest
ornaments. The best PVC is fade resistant and fire retardant.
Treetime uses Real-Feel Needles -
Polyethylene (PE): PE is a more expensive material than PVC, and the
way it is manufactured to make needles and branches is a more costly
process. However, the realism created can be hard to match. Molds are
made from actual tree tips of various species, including firs and pines.
Liquid PE is added to the molds and formed into realistic tree tips.
The more advanced the mold is, the better the needle details,
smoothness, and overall quality will be. The best PE is treated to be