*By: Linz Bordner*
Throughout my childhood, we always had an artificial Christmas tree. While decorating it was something we undoubtedly looked forward to, I often wondered what it would be like to have that “real tree experience.”
Now that I have a family of my own, we delve into the whole adventure of going to the local tree farm to pick out the “perfect” Christmas tree.
The “perfect” tree is really in the eye of the beholder and personal preference. Also, a lot depends on the size and space of where it will be showcased. The two most popular tree varieties are Douglas and Fraser fir. Every year, I always seem to forget which one we end up with, but I think it’s usually a Douglas. I’m still trying to figure out the difference, so I left it to Google to help me sort it out.
What I found is that they both, of course, have different origins and appearances. Fraser firs have blue-green needles with silvery undersides and Douglas typically have dark or light green needles. Fraser have sturdier branches, which can support heavier ornaments as opposed to Douglas which have softer, flexible needles. Both varieties hold up well to indoor temperatures and have great needle retention if kept watered. Frasers tend to be more expensive, since they take longer to grow to maturity than do the Douglas. So, whichever you choose, they both are pretty solid and standard choices.
After you’ve decided which tree variety you want to go with, now comes the experience. If you’ve never been to a tree farm, they all tend to run things pretty similarly. Most tree farms will provide measuring sticks and hand saws if you want to get really adventurous and cut it down yourself. After you have your tools in hand, next it’s time to pick out your tree, which for most is a joyous occasion, for others, a decisional nightmare. Some traits to look for are: symmetry, vibrancy of needles, and any dead rubbish or insect invasions.
After you’ve picked your “perfect” tree, then tag that sucker! If you aren’t cutting it down yourself, you’ll have to wait for someone to do it for you. If you aren’t the most patient person like myself, we opt for cutting it down ourselves. The hand saw provided by the tree farm was actually pretty terrible this year and had my husband hacking at the trunk for what seemed like an eternity. I would suggest bringing your own reliable pruning saw or chainsaw to do the job in a matter of seconds.
Also, if you are bringing small children, make sure they don’t get lost amongst the never-ending rows of trees. The tree farm we went to this year was huge and equivalent to that of a corn maze.
Lastly, bring your tree to the processing area and they will shake it out, cut off any excess, and wrap it and you’re on your way! Happy Christmas tree hunting!
Tell us about your Christmas tree experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly!