Selecting and Cutting Real Christmas
Remember, the Christmas trees purchased from local Christmas tree farms are as
fresh as a Christmas tree
can ever be.
Evaluate your needs before departing for the farm.
- Measure the ceiling height in the room where the tree will be displayed. The
trees in the field
look small when the sky is the ceiling. Don't overbuy.
- Measure the width of the area of the room where the tree will be displayed. Most
trees on tree
farms are trimmed to an 80% taper. So a tree that's 10' tall will be 8' wide. A tree that will
in the room vertically may be entirely too big horizontally.
- Are there any individuals in the household who are allergic to pine; if so, consider
species such as Leyland, Sapphire, etc.
- What decorating theme will be used ? The Leyland Cypress and Carolina Sapphire
compact foliage and are well suited to small lights, decorations and bows. The Virginia pine
has more open branching and is more suited to older style lights and larger decorations. The
Cunningham Fir has very open branches. This classic tree can display large decorations for a
- Are there young children in the house ? Both the Carolina Sapphire and the Leyland
have extremely soft foliage. The Virginia Pine is somewhat more sticky and the Cunningham
Fir is quite sticky.
- What aroma is preferred ? Virginia Pine has the classic evergreen scent. The
Sapphire has the aroma of lemon and mint. Leyland Cypress and Cunningham Fir have little
detectable odor of any kind.
What should you expect when you arrive at the farm ?
- Most tree farms keep their fields very well groomed, but their are some things
that are beyond
the farmer's control. Be careful of fire ant mounds, tree stumps, an occasional blackberry
vine, uneven ground and sharp saws.
- Go to the farm prepared for a day in the country. Wear comfortable shoes and old
Bring rain gear if the weather is threatening. The "cutter downers" and the "loader uppers"
should also have gloves. DON'T FORGET THE CAMERA. It's best to leave "Rover" at
home. But, if he must come along; keep him on a leash at all times. Please don't let him
"mark" other people's trees.
- Saws are usually provided by the farm operator.
- Some farms measure and price their trees individually, other sell them by the
- Head in to the field and select the tree that fits your predetermined needs. Check the
be sure that it is sufficiently straight. Keep in mind that pines will usually have, at least,
crook in their trunks. Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphire and Cunningham Fir have almost
perfectly straight trunks. Also check that the tree has a sufficiently long handle to
accommodate your stand.
- In the fall of the year ALL pines drop, or shed, a certain portion of their oldest
is a normal part of the life cycle of the tree. The oldest needles are on the inside of the tree.
This phenomena occurs because the tree is preparing itself for winter. The nutrients from the
old needles are transferred to the younger needles before the oldest needles are dropped.
These additional nutrients act as antifreeze in the liquid in the cells and protects them from
freezing during the winter months. It also provides an extra boost to the tree for the spring
flush. With this in mind, expect to see some dead needles on the interior of Virginia Pine
Christmas trees at the tree farm. Most farms provide shaking, or blowing, services so that
will depart with a perfectly clean pine. The Leyland, Sapphire and Cunningham Fir do not
require any cleaning.
- Cutting the tree is easiest as a two person project. The "cutter downer" usually lies
ground. While the helper holds the bottom limbs up. At this the point, be especially careful
ants. While the cut is being made, the helper should tug on the tree lightly to ensure that the
saw kerf remains open so that the saw does not bind. The tugging force should be applied to
the side of the tree opposite the cut. In the case of the Leylands, the cut is best made by an
attendant at the farm using a chain saw. A back cut should be made first with the final cut
coming from the opposite side.
- Bring the tree to the processing area where it will be cleaned and netted. Netting
transporting and handling the tree substantially easier.
- When you are checking out, remember to pickup a tree removal bag. It can be used
as a tree
skirt and then pulled up around the tree to help keep the floors clean when the tree is being
- Now you're ready to load the tree and head home to decorate your Real