Tis the season. Christmas Parades, Nutcracker Ballet Performances, lights up around the house, now it is time to buy the Christmas tree. Terry Fogle with Fort Valley Nursery sums it up when he saids, “There is nothing capturing Christmas than the smell a fresh tree can give a home. It is as much Christmas as anything.”
Here are the tips to pick out your fresh Christmas tree:
Tip #1 – Buy as Local as you can including of course going to a Christmas Tree farm or a an arbor center or nursery. If you are going to a lot that is only open for the season, these trees could be coming as far away as the west coast. “It is normal for trees to have needles in the center because trees shed their needles so do not be alarmed if you see dead needles in the center of the tree. They have no impact if the tree is fresh. Give the tree a good shake or bounce and the dead needles will fall out.
Tip #2 – Look at the color of the tree and freshness of the needles. Trees should have good bright color – not dull. It needs to look fresh and plump. Take your fingers and bend the needles, they should not break.
Tip #3 – “What type of tree to pick?” Spruces are not good because they will not hold their needles. Firs including the very popular Douglas Fir are amazing fragrant, can hold heavy ornaments, and will last for a month if kept watered. They are also a beautiful blue green color. Pines are also excellent but do not hold heavy ornaments.
Tip #4 – Buy early in December, there is no problem buying a tree early. Unless you are going to a tree farm and cutting the tree yourself, cut trees will stay fresh if you bring them home and cut a half inch off the base so the tree can take in water again. If you are not putting the tree inside immediately, put them in a bucket out in the garage or carport. If you cut the base and then wait, the sap will seal the tree up again.
Tip #5 – Keep away from a heat source. Trees have resin which is very flammable but this is only if something else ignites the fire like a fray electric wire from your lights. Just like poinsettias, the cooler the environment, the more the tree will not dry out.
I asked Terry about home remedies like putting aspirin in the water. Laughing, Terry said the aspirin company must have introduced that one. I have heard of many and do not know any that actually work.
If you are considering a live tree to be planted outside after Christmas – here are some pointers.
Tip #1 – Stay small, the ball of the tree is very heavy plus it must be put into water so there are the logistics of container size.
Tip #2 – No more than 7 – 10 days at the max inside your house. Like the cut trees, live trees are also dormant and you do not want to break the dormancy. You will shock the tree with little success of it living once planted outside.
Tip #3 – Dig your hole early in case the ground gets hard.
Last Reminder – when you buy a tree in the December whether it is cut or live, you are in the dormant season for the tree so it is imperative that you make a fresh cut and IMMEDIATELY put the tree in water so it can take water in before it closes up again.
There are many great Christmas Tree farms in the area. My family has always gone to Ridgefield Farm between Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry. I love watching my guy get down on that ground to saw THE tree after we have spent an hour looking to find the best one. Another great tree farm is Christmas Trees at Hartland Farm. Hank just told me he is already sold out …… so plan to go next year EARLY!
If you are looking for decorating ideas, great plants and decorations, Go Blue Ridge Travel salutes another small business in the Shenandoah Valley. Visit Fort Valley Nursery at the Woodstock Virginia exit on Interstate 81. It is another Best Kept Secret here in the Shenandoah Valley. Next month, we will introduce you to the weddings occurring in this nursery, a very unique environment.