In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, the ritual of a real Christmas tree captures the genuine spirit of the holidays. Decorating with live greens is an important way to connect with tradition, and to pass the special feeling of Christmas along to another generation.
The fragrance of a fresh-cut Christmas tree really sets the mood for an old-fashioned family Christmas season. As convincing as some of today’s fake trees are, a real, live tree has another dimension that nothing man-made can replace. Live greens truly bring you closer to the spirit of the season.
Instead of taking a fake Christmas tree out of a box and assembling it, why not treat your family to the magic of a fresh, live tree? Really fresh trees aren’t messy, and aren’t a fire hazard. The most important thing is that the tree be truly fresh the day you bring it home.
We like Fraser Fir trees because the needles are soft and don’t prick your skin, plus they have lots of space between the branches. This makes your ornaments show up better. The best thing about them is how long they stay fresh: up to two months with very little needle drop. The needles are still soft when it’s time to take the tree down, which makes the job easier.
Scotch Pines are extremely popular. They have a nice full shape. Since they grow rapidly and are easily shaped, they are inexpensive to grow and so they’re very economical.
Marjorie’s favorite Christmas tree is the Concolor Fir; a bit harder to find but worth looking for. Concolor Firs have a pleasant citrus fragrance. Their needles don’t bite, and they have sturdy well-spaced branches that hold lots of ornaments without sagging.
The most important thing is to get your tree where you know it’s really fresh cut. “Choose & cut” tree farms are the best source, and it’s a fun family ritual to go out and select your tree in the field. Chain stores and “big boxes” generally have trees that were cut weeks before Thanksgiving and shipped long distances, so they are likely to dry out quickly and shed. It’s better to find a local source. We bought this year’s tree from “T&T’s Garden Patch” in Georgetown, where they took an extra step we’ve rarely seen: all their trees were sitting in pots of water to keep them moist!
We recommend cutting off a bit of the bottom of the trunk and then “pencil-pointing” the bark with a kitchen knife to help the tree take up more water. This means trimming the bark around the cut end on a bevel, to open up the pink inner bark. This allows the tree to take up more water, since an old cut will be sealed with sap.
In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, the ritual of a real Christmas tree captures the genuine spirit of the holidays. Decorating with live greens is an important way to connect with tradition, and pass the special feeling of Christmas along to another generation.
Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in landscape “makeovers”. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.