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Tips on Choosing a Real Christmas Tree

Shopping for a real Christmas tree can be a great fun, family experience. Whether you browse through a retail lot or make a day of it going to a choose and cut farm. Personally, I'm partial to the choose and cut farm. I guess it depends on whether you're looking for the essential fresh tree......or the experience)) Many choose and cut farms have additional activities that are great for children so shop around and make some calls. Sometimes even Santa is present for photos. Also there are some retailers who will ship a fresh tree right to your front door!

leyland cypress

Decide on the ht and width of the tree you need before getting to the farm or retail lot. (Trees in the field look smaller when standing in an open field.)

Shop for your tree during daylight hours or at a well lit retail lot. Get to know the retailer. Most are happy to let you know when the trees will be arriving so you can get a fresh one.

Check the tree for freshness. Green needles on fresh trees break crisply when bent sharply with finger, much like a crisp carrot. But, needles on fresh pine trees do NOT break unless they are very dry.

Excessive needle loss, discoloration, musty odor, are all signs of dryness. Give the tree a shake. You can expect some needle loss, but not excessive. If in doubt about the freshness, keep looking at other trees. Ask the retailer about which species of trees retains its freshness longest for your area and also about water needs. Notice the size of the limbs. The tree needs sturdy limbs to hold heavy glass Christmas ornaments. Heavier ornaments can be placed on inner limbs toward the trunk where limbs are larger.

If purchasing at a "choose and cut" farm, go prepared for a day in the country and take along your camera - great photo op! Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes, gloves if you plan to cut your own tree. Most farms pre-tag the trees, but ask in advance how trees are priced. They may be graded or priced by the foot. Call or shop early for taller trees as these tend to go first.

If you want the experience of cutting the tree, check before you go. Some farms prefer to do their own cutting. If customer cutting is allowed, they will have the saws and probably start the cut for you.

If you plan to take your pet, please call before hand. Some farms may not allow pets.

Check the trunk for straightness and sufficient handle to fit your stand. Once cut, the handle can be trimmed and made shorter, but you don't want to get into cutting the lower limbs of the tree.

If this is your first experience cutting your own tree, inquire beforehand if you should bring your own stand or if the farm has some for sale. Larger trees must have an appropriate stand for safety. Some farms will gladly put your stand on before you leave.

In the fall of the year ALL conifers drop, or shed, a certain portion of their oldest needles. This is a normal part of the life cycle of the tree. This phenomena occurs because the tree is preparing itself for winter. Most farms provide shaking, or blowing, services so that you will depart with a perfectly clean tree.

field of leyland cypress

picking out a christmas tree

christmas tree farm

Have Fun!

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