Christmas 101: Tips from a Baldwin County farmer for picking the best tree, keeping it alive and healthy

MELANIE LECROY
Lifestyle Editor
melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 11/25/22

Before you head out the door to purchase a Christmas tree, there are some things you should know and consider.

Steve Mannhard with Fish River Trees gave some tips and ideas for making sure you …

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Christmas 101: Tips from a Baldwin County farmer for picking the best tree, keeping it alive and healthy

Posted

Before you head out the door to purchase a Christmas tree, there are some things you should know and consider.

Steve Mannhard with Fish River Trees gave some tips and ideas for making sure you have the best- looking tree in the neighborhood this year.

MAKE SURE THE TREE WILL FIT YOUR SPACE

Find the best place for your Christmas tree and clear the area before you leave. Then measure the height and depth and make note. Take these measurements into consideration when choosing a tree at the farm or on the retail sale lot.

Find your Christmas tree stand and check the size limit. There is nothing worse than being woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of a crashing tree and ornaments.

CHOOSE AND CUT YOUR OWN TREE

When you get to the farm, tent or retail lot, take time to inspect all the trees and varieties to find one that you like that fits your decorating style.

Fish River Tree offers:

  • Virginia Pine – Straight trunk and a classic pine scent. Their natural resin can make the branches and trunk sticky.
  • Leyland Cypress – Good for people with allergies because it has very little scent or natural resin. Deep green in color.
  • Carolina Sapphire – Lacy, silvery-blue foliage.
  • Blue Ice – Lacy, silvery gray-blue foliage in dense sprays.
  • Murray Cypress – Sturdy branch structure.
  • Green Giant Arborvitae – Rich green foliage.

BUY A PRE-CUT TREE

Fish River Trees trucks in 2,500 fir trees from the northern part of the United States and Canada. Firs are what many people think of when they think of a live Christmas tree.

Some of the varieties offered this year are:

Fraser Fir – Very short needles with a bluish silver underside found on the branches with good needle retention.

Noble Fir – Stiff branches make it good for heavy ornaments.

Canaan Fir – Nice green color.

Douglas Fir – Paler green color and soft needles.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR TREE ALIVE

Buy or put up your tree as late as possible.

If you want to buy it early to make sure you get the size you want, Mannhard suggests keeping it out of the sun, wind and heat. He said to put it in the garage and keep it in a bucket of water.

Make a fresh cut. The bottom dries out and the sap hardens and does not allow the tree to take up water.

Whether you buy a pre-cut or you cut your tree down, make a fresh cut and immediately get it in water.

Never let the water go below the trunk. It should always be submerged.

The tree will also take up a lot of water in the first few days, so make sure to check daily or twice daily. Keep the tree away from heating vents, blowing air and fireplaces. Mannhard said trees wick moisture from their needles and will dry out fast if air is blowing across them. He suggests shutting nearby heating vents.

Water is best. Mannhard suggests saving your money on additives because research does not show it makes trees last longer.

Don’t keep your lights on all the time. Mannhard said light technology has improved to not put out as much heat as in the past, but it is best to not keep the lights on all day. The cooler the tree, the longer it will last.

CONTAINER TREES

Water the tree daily to make sure the root ball does not dry out.

Plant the tree using the instructions given to ensure success.

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