Little Trees

tree-shaped air fresheners

Little Trees (Also called Wunder Baum, Arbre Magique and Magic Tree in the United Kingdom until 2011) is a company that makes car fresheners shaped like evergreen trees. Little Trees is owned by Car Freshener Corporation. Little Trees are usually hung from rear-view mirrors. They were invented in 1952 by Julius Samann, a Jewish Canadian who left Germany to escape the Nazis. Little Trees usually last a month before losing their smell.[1] In November 2015, Car Freshener Corporation made one hundred million USD a year.[2] In 2022, it was making $84.5 million a year.[3]

Little Trees
IndustryCar freshener manufacturing
Founded1952; 72 years ago (1952) in Watertown, New York
FounderJulius Samann
$84 million (2022)
Number of employees
420 (2005) Edit this on Wikidata
ParentCar Freshener Corporation



Little Trees were invented in 1952 by Julius Sämann in a rented garage in Watertown, New York.[4] Julius Samann was a Jew from Germany who left Germany and immigrated to Canada at the start of World War II to escape the Nazis.[5] In Canada, Sämann studied the smell of Alpine Trees[5] for five years.[6] Sämann invented Little Trees after a milk driver complained to him about the smell of spilled milk.[5][7] Julius Samann filed a patent for Little Trees in 1954.[5] Little Trees was the first car freshener.[7][8]



The headquarters is in Watertown, New York,[5][7] but it has 2 factories in total in the United States. The other factory is in Dewitt, Iowa.[9] There used to be a third factory in Berlin, New Hampshire,[9] but in April 2012 it was announced that it would close.[10] Little Trees had several locations in Watertown in the 1950s and 1960s.[4] Little Trees has around 310 people working at the factories in the United States.[3] Little Trees is called Wunder Baum in Germany, Poland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.[11][12] Little Trees is called Arbre Magique in France, Spain and Italy.[11] Little Trees was called Magic Trees in the United Kingdom until they announced they would change their name to Little Trees in 2011.[11][13] On March 22, 2020 the factory in Watertown, New York closed for a short time and fired many workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cheryl Mayforth estimated that 20 to 30 percent of workers would be fired by the end of the pandemic.[14][15]



The company is very serious about its trademark and has filed over 70 lawsuits.[16]

  • In 2002, Little Trees sued Rite Way Wholesale Incorporated, a small business in Queens, New York for selling counterfeit vanilla-scented tree shaped air fresheners without Little Trees' permission. Because of the lawsuit, Rite Way Wholesale Inc. had their entire stock destroyed and had to pay an unrevealed amount of money to Little Trees.[17]
  • In 2006, Little Trees sued Corndog Cards & Novelties for selling glow-in-the-dark Little Trees with greeting messages on them. They had to pay one hundred United States Dollars and tell Little Trees the names of everyone who bought one.[18]
  • In 2009, Little Trees sued Getty Images because Getty Images posted images of a car with a Little Tree hung from the rear-view mirror.[19]

Laws against Little Trees


Hanging things from rear-view mirrors in a way that could make it hard for drivers to see is illegal in Quebec, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.[20] It is also illegal in the United States states of Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Illinois, and Texas. It is illegal to hang objects from rear-view mirrors in Virginia, but police can not stop a car for it.[21]


Little Trees has been in many movies. Little Trees is on the cover of Rear View, a 2004 novel made by Pete Duval.[22]



Little Trees have been in movies like Ocean's Eleven (2001).[4][22] Little Trees were also in Uncut Gems (2019), Impractical Jokers (2020), Hooking Up (2020) and Lorelei (2020).[23] In Seven (1995), Little Trees were hung from the ceiling in a room where a murder happened to hide the smell of a dead body.[1] In The Fisher King Robin Williams wears a Little Tree around his neck.[1] In Grumpy Old Men Walter Matthau hangs six Little Trees from the rear-view mirror to hide the smell of dead fish.[22]

In 2009 Jack Williams made "Forest", he hung 350 Little Trees from the ceiling. He did it because he liked the smell of Little Trees.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Moos, Jeanne (2007-05-25). "Air fresheners doing a brisk business". CNN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  2. "Tree-Shaped Air Freshener Titans Tangled In Infringement War". Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Car-Freshner Corporation". D&B Business Directory. Retrieved 2022-05-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 O'Connor, Deb (August 2005). "Little Trees: An American icon born and raised in Watertown" (PDF). Absolutely Business. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2011. Retrieved 29 Sep 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Greenbaum, Hilary; Rubinstein, Dana (2012-03-02). "Who Made Those Little Trees Air Fresheners?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-04-12.
  6. "The fascinating origins of the pine tree air freshener". Drive. 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "About | Little Trees". Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  8. 9.0 9.1 O'Connor, Deb (August 2005). "Little Trees: An American icon born and raised in Watertown" (PDF). Absolutely Business. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2011. Retrieved 29 Sep 2011.
  9. "The City That Trees Built Loses Its "Little Trees" Plant And More Jobs". New Hampshire Public Radio. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  10. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "The Magic Tree air freshener: where it came from, and why it's so successful". ArnoldClark Newsroom. Archived from the original on 2016-07-28. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  11. "International | Little Trees". Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  12. "A little change for Magic Tree". CAT. 2011-08-25. Archived from the original on 2017-05-06. Retrieved 2018-02-03. One of the most recognisable brands in the UK aftermarket, [Magic Tree's UK distributor has] announced that from this month the Magic Tree brand will change its name to Little Trees.
  13. Fox, Craig. "Car-Freshner Corp. among the latest local companies to lay off workers". NNY360. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  14. Rutherford, Diane. "Watertown's Car-Freshner temporarily closes, lays off workers". WWNYTV. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  15. "Julius Samann". Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  16. "Oblon, Spivak Logs A Court Victory For Car-Freshner's "Little Trees"; Counterfeit Air Freshener Trees Turned Over For Destruction". Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  17. "If a Tree Falls on a Corndog ... Austin novelty card company gets crushed by lawyers and money". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  18. "Something Smells Off: Getty Images Sued Over Silhouette of Air Freshener". Archived from the original on 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  19. "A-t-on le droit de conduire avec un masque accroché au rétroviseur de sa voiture ?". Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  20. "Here are the states that prohibit hanging objects like air fresheners from rearview mirrors". WANE 15. 2021-04-16. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  21. 22.0 22.1 22.2 O'Connor, Deb (August 2005). "Little Trees: An American icon born and raised in Watertown" (PDF). Absolutely Business. p. 23. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2011. Retrieved 29 Sep 2011.
  22. "Little Trees Product Placement Seen On Screen". Retrieved 2022-04-19.

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