Christmas Tree Threat.

Picking just the right tree can be as much of an art form as decorating it. Some people go for the short bushy ones, while for others it's a tall, slender tree with small needles that fits the bill. For those who want a pleasing aroma, dark green color, and needles that don't fall off as soon as your ornaments go on, the Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is a top choice.

"Fraser firs are considered one of the premier Christmas trees species in the U.S.," says Christmas tree geneticist John Frampton.

But hundreds of thousands of these North Carolina natives are dying. A microscopic fungus called Phytophthora cinnamomi rots away the roots of the trees, and spreads from tree to tree through moisture in the soil. 87 species of Phytophthora have been identified around the globe, and they attack a whole array of plants.

Tag : , .