Tips for Choosing Christmas Trees at Cut Your Own Tree Farms
Choose Your Own Tree at a Christmas Tree Farm
Nothing rings in the holidays on a sweet note like visiting a Christmas tree farm and cutting your own tree. If you live near tree farms, or you don't mind a short drive into the countryside to visit such a farm, a family outing to cut your own Christmas tree can make fun memories for years to come.
Most cut your own tree farms are small and family owned. They advertise in newspapers and local websites. Be sure to check their hours of operation carefully, as some are open only on the weekends during the Holiday seasons.
Tips for Choosing Christmas Trees at Tree Farms
Each Christmas tree farm varies in how they work with visitors and purchasers. Some hand you a hacksaw at the entrance and a map showing you the location of various types of trees and a price sheet. Others have a worker drive you out to the location of the trees you're interested in and wait until you've made your selection. Then the worker cuts the tree for you, transports it back to the entrance building, places it in netting and helps you load it into the car. The experience at a tree farm will vary considerably based on the size and sophistication of the operation.
Expect to be walking around outdoors for a while in the cold and possibly in snow. Dress accordingly and make sure that children do, too! Wear a warm winter coat, boots, hat and gloves. Do not wear your best outerwear, however, as fresh Christmas trees exude a lot of sap, and it can be difficult to get it off of your clothes.
Most trees are priced according to the type and size. The rarer and slower-growing trees are priced higher, and taller trees will be priced higher, too.
Tips for Choosing Your Christmas Tree at a Tree Farm
- Check the farm's hours of operation and be respectful of their opening and closing hours.
- Leave your family dog at home. Even though you'll be walking around outside, the farm owner probably doesn't want Fido's messes on the walkways where other customers are walking, too. In addition, he might have a dog or two on the property who feel protective of the land. Leave your dog at home.
- Bring a tarp or old blanket to cover the trunk of your car before loading in the tree. Otherwise you'll be picking pine needles out of the car upholstery until June.
- Tree farms generally provide rope to tie down the trunk of your car, but it wouldn't hurt to bring some of your own, just in case.
- Clear the area where you will place the tree in your home BEFORE you buy it. If you know you won't get to decorate it for several days, have a bucket of water ready in a cool location such as a garage or covered porch to store the tree until you're ready for it.
- If you plan to trim the tree the same day as you cut the tree, have the tree stand in place and ready for the trees before you leave for the Christmas tree farm. Take the ornament and tree light boxes out of storage too.
- Measure the height of the area where you plan to put your Christmas tree. Then bring a tape measure to the tree farm. When you're looking at Christmas trees growing in an open field, they look smaller than they actually area. Seeing them juxtaposed next to other trees can also make you think they are bigger or smaller than they really are. If you know the height of the area where you intend to place the tree, and you bring a tape measure with you, it helps prevent the situation of buying a tree too big to fit in your home!
Tips for the Tree Once It's Indoors
Fresh cut Christmas trees are a little different from live trees purchased at garden centers. They tend to drink more water than trees that have been cut weeks before and shipped into stores. Be sure to check the water level frequently, and add water daily. Some trees may drink so much water the first few days indoors that the tree stand reservoir needs to be filled twice daily.
Fresh sap on newly cut trees can sometimes drip onto the floor. I use an old vinyl kitchen tablecloth placed over my hardwood floors, then I place my Christmas tree stand on top of that. Once the tree is in place, I wait a day or two before placing the tree skirt underneath. There's much less chance of sap damaging the skirt or hardwood floors.
One last tip: spiders! I have found that freshly cut trees often have unwanted 'guests' on the branches. Be on the lookout for spiders and if they bother you - you know what to do!
Have the hot chocolate ready and enjoy your outing in the countryside choosing your own Christmas tree. Don't forget to bring your camera and capture memories of the day.
© 2011 Jeanne Grunert
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