Nashville, TN – It’s only November, but all across the state, Christmas tree farmers are getting ready for the folks who make choosing natural Christmas trees a treasured part of the holiday season.
Christmas tree farmers know that choosing the tree is a memory-making experience and an anticipated holiday project, so they make the experience as much fun as possible. Many offer hot cider or other refreshments at their farms and sell natural wreaths, roping and garland in addition to trees.
Some farms feature wagon rides, educational tours for groups, petting zoos or gift shops on site with all sorts of holiday décor inside.
Some growers even conduct on-farm holiday craft classes or host special events which might even include a visit from Santa.
Aside from sentimental reasons, a couple of pretty practical reasons for choosing local trees include cost and quality. The cost of transportation is not included in the price of a tree that’s never left the farm, and there’s no tree fresher than the one you just cut yourself.
To get the most out of your locally grown tree, know what you want and how to take care of it. The first step is to measure the space where you want your tree to go before you head out to the farm.
Tree hunters may wander through groves of uncut trees and cut their own, have trees cut for them, select a freshly cut tree on site at the farm or take a balled and burlapped live tree home for replanting after the holidays have passed.
The needles of a pre-cut tree should be resilient. Grasp a branch about six inches from its tip between your thumb and forefinger. Pull your hand toward you, allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. The needles should adhere to the branch, not fall off in your hand. Lift a cut tree a few inches off the ground and bring it down abruptly on its stump. Outside green needles should not fall off in substantial numbers, though interior brown needles shed naturally every year.
Make a fresh cut across the base of the trunk, or have the farmer do that for you. Consider taking your tree stand with you so the farmer can fit your tree onto your stand. Always use a water-holding stand, water the tree as soon as possible, and keep the cut covered in water. If the base of the tree dries out, a seal forms and a new cut needs to be made.
Natural trees should be kept cool and safe, away from fireplaces, heaters and televisions. Always unplug lights when you are away from home or before you go to bed, and be sure light cords are in good working order.
Find local Christmas trees at www.picktnproducts.org.