The folks at Wildwood Christmas Tree Farm help you understand all that is involved when it comes to picking out a live Christmas tree for your home.
When it comes down to it, you usually end up getting the one that looks the best in your eyes for your live Christmas tree. However, did you know there are many pros and cons pertaining to each variety, when to buy and how long will it stay fresh in the house, when and how much to water, and even what to do with the tree after the season is over? David Gray, owner of Wildwood Christmas Tree Farm, is here to answer those questions and help you choose what’s best for you.
“Most of these questions will answer themselves as we learn how the Christmas tree industry operates in America today,” says Gray. “A tree begins to die the instant it is cut down, so the freshest, most long-lasting tree will be the one you choose-n-cut on the day you take it home.”
That’s something big to consider when you decide to just grab one on the way home from those many Christmas Tree locations set up all over town. It’s important to remember this and consider choosing from one of the many choose-n-cut farms across Tennessee — visit picktnproducts.org for a location near you. They’re super fun to visit with the kids and you will have tons of fun walking through the field looking at all the trees and even cutting it down yourself to take home. Yeah, it takes a little elbow grease to get it down, so be prepared (uh-hem, DAD!), to put some strength into cutting that tree down. The kids will happily cheer you on. But, what do you do after that?
“Always place the tree in a water-filled stand and never allow the cut end of the trunk to dry out,” says Gray. “Once this happens, that end will haze over with sap and the tree will no longer be able to take up any water.” That’s why all the places with pre-cut trees offer to cut the end off your tree, and if they don’t … be sure to ask them to do so or you’ll need to do that when you get home. Gray evens cautions you that many of the pre-cut trees were cut down as early as September, stored in a warehouse or out in the open, not cared for and lack water to sustain life. That’s why the needles tend to fall off earlier and more often.
Speaking of needles, Gray says the Fraser Fir holds its needles longer than any other variety (and a popular choice by many). “It’s the ‘super tree’, but even the mighty Fraser can only take so much,” adds Gray. “The only way to guarantee a fresh tree is to make sure it gets cut as close as possible to the time you want it and that it is well cared for at all times.”
Wildwood Christmas Tree Farm grows nine different varieties of Christmas trees (all pines, spruces and some firs). When you cut a tree down fresh from a farm, Grays says those trees are shaken to remove pests, dead needles and environmental dust, then netted and loaded onto your vehicle for the ride home. “We recommend keeping the tree in a water-filled stand and possibly adding an additive to the water to help keep the tree ‘fresh,'” adds Gray. “It’s also a good idea to take your tree home and give it a vigorous spraying down with water to be sure all pests have been removed and to help allergy-sufferers.”
But, when should you actually cut a tree down?
“A fresh cut tree can be brought in as early as Mid-November and still look good at Christmas,” says Gray. “That being said, some varieties, such as the Norway Spruce, are known to have poor needle retention.” He suggests cutting that type of tree at the beginning of December. But, if you really want to keep your tree fresh and looking great all season long, try the ball and burlap option.
“The Ball & Burlap (B&B) option is gaining in popularity on our farm,” says Gray. “A B&B is dug from the field by hand and the roots are still covered in dirt, then fully wrapped in burlap and placed in a galvanized wash tub in the house during the Christmas season — a tree skirt hides the tub. Then, after Christmas the tree can be replanted and will continue to grow and be a lasting memory of the year,” he adds.
When it’s all said and done, your fresh cut tree should be removed from the house after Christmas and taken to a local recycling center. Be on the lookout for Murfreesboro and Smyrna to announce a drop-off location for trees when the season ends.