There are approximately 15,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States, and Christmas tree cultivation is an agricultural forestry that employs over 100,000 people. When you buy a real Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm, you are not only getting a beautiful tree, but helping the economy. Below are some tips on picking out your first Christmas tree this year so you can have it ready for Santa to put presents underneath.
What to Look For
When you select the farm and start walking around looking at the trees, you need to make sure you get one that is going to last throughout the Christmas season. To make sure it is a fresh cut tree, run your thumb and forefinger along one of the branches to see if any needles fall off. If they do, the tree is not freshly cut. Make sure the tree has no brittle or brown needles. Kick the trunk to see if any needles fall off. It is common for a few to drop, but you should not see a lot of them. The tree will have a nice fragrance if it is fresh, as well as a beautiful green color.
All of the trees should be sheared properly. Without shearing, Christmas trees grow wildly with no shape at all. Shearing regulates and directs the growth of each tree to develop it into a symmetrical shape. This not only makes the tree look like a Christmas tree, but increases the foliage to make the tree fuller. Ask the Christmas tree farm owner how often they shear their trees. Depending on the type of tree, they may do this in the spring and then again in the fall.
Some hands tools a tree farmer uses when shearing trees include:
- Lopping shears: Lopping shears have long handles that gives the farmer good leverage when cutting through thick branches.
- Pole pruners: Work like lopping shears but have extensions that can reach higher branches.
- Pruning saw: A pruning saw is used for branches that are too large for the lopping shear or pole pruners.
Many tree farmers use gas or battery powered trimmers, or electric powered trimmers, especially if they have a lot of trees on their farm.
Automatic shearing machines are also used, which is a shearing unit that is mounted on a truck. The farmer selects the tree’s angle of taper, and then a series of whirling knives shears the trees.
Types of Christmas Trees
There are many different types of Christmas trees including:
- Noble Fir: This tree is full and rounded with thick branches that have silvery green needles. The limbs are sturdy so this tree can easily support heavy lights and ornaments.
- Balsam Fir: This tree has a strong evergreen scent and has dark green needles.
- Douglas Fir: Has dark green or blue green needles. This tree is lighter than others so is easier to transport and set up in your home. If you crush the needles, they give off an evergreen scent.
- Fraser Fir: If you look underneath a needle from the Fraser Fir tree, you will see a pair of silver stripes. The branches are sturdy, and it holds needles better than other types of Christmas trees.
You will come home with the perfect Christmas tree that will hold up well if you follow these tips.