When I was a kid, buying a Christmas tree was not just a trip to the tree lot but a major holiday experience. I remember one year my dad filled up the station wagon with all of the kids. Yes, he had several station wagons over the years. Each one a little uglier and more dated. The last one which was involved in this story was royal blue with a two-foot fake wood stripe down the side. Who’s with me? We drove over an hour to Mansfield to pick out a tree which in hindsight, was probably off the same tree farm of the Christmas Tree that were around the corner from our house. Needless to say, it had lost a lot of needles on the roof of the station wagon on the way back to our house. Dad was so happy because it was $2 cheaper than the local ones.
When picking out a tree nowadays, the list of options and criteria are much longer than my dad’s lone requirement of good deal. He doesn’t seem to out there now, does he? The choice between a cut, live, or artificial tree is a difficult one. An artificial Prelit Christmas Tree shipped directly to your front door with Amazon free shipping is a tempting choice. However, the cut vs. live tree option is a little messier, literally and figuratively.
A live tree is a cool option but can be difficult to plant after the holidays if the ground is still frozen. In addition, because of the root ball, anything over six feet you will need a crane to get into your house. If you are selecting a live tree, choose one that will grow and thrive in northern Ohio. A fun trip with the kids is to cut your own Christmas tree. There are several cut-your-own tree farms in Northeast Ohio. A good list can be found on the Ohio Christmas Tree Association website (Link). If you are buying one from a parking lot or big box store, make sure the tree is from a sustainable tree farm. A fresh Christmas tree that fills your home with scent of pine is always a holiday favorite.
Here are a few selection tips:
• Look for one with good color. Dull needles could be an indication of dryness or its lot age.
• Find one that was recently harvested.
• Shake the tree, look for excessive needle loss. Some needle loss is normal on any tree. However, when it is shaken, it should retain most of its needles.
• Brittle needles that break are a sign of a dehydrated tree.
• Check for the presence of insects and other pests.