Wondering how to pick the perfect Christmas tree without having a Clark Griswold experience in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?
First things first, according to John Stuve, a certified arborist and part-owner of Tree Savvy Tree Service in Eleva: “Start by measuring the area (height and width) where you want your tree,” he noted. “Remember to measure the width of the door you’ll be carrying it through. Bring along the tree stand and tree toppers like angels and stars to make sure they’ll fit and work.”
Balsam fir, Fraser Fir, and white pines are most common in our area, according to Nancy Skelley, greenhouse manager at Jacobson’s Ace Hardware in Chippewa Falls. Stuve also likes the Canaan fir tree, which comes from Canada.
“Balsam have short, flat needles, are very fragrant, nicely branched, and hold ornaments well, but tend to drop needles a bit,” she continued. “Fraser are short-needled, have a more blue-green color, the needles are not as flat, the underside of the branches have an almost silvery appearance. They hold ornaments well and tend to be less messy. White pines have long needles, and can be a bit harder to decorate.”
Skelley offered the following four pointers for choosing the right tree:
• Check for a straight trunk, and make sure it fits your stand.
• Shake pre-cut trees a bit. If the needles fall off, the tree may already be dry. Tree farms will shake your tree for you.
• Try to buy locally grown trees. Some places buy trees from farms far away where they were cut in September and sat on a truck. Local places usually have recently harvested trees.
• Even if you go to a tree farm, be sure to give your tree a fresh cut before putting it in the stand. Immediately fill the water well with hot water, then make sure it never goes dry.