Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We've Got Your Christmas Tree!

Northern and Central New York is not only a fine place for growing apples (as described in a previous issue of my blog), but we also have some of the best Christmas trees in the entire State. There are over 850 Christmas tree farms in New York State, with several of them shipping Christmas trees to other areas of the US. Some people that have never visited our State have the illusion that our entire State is just an expansion of New York City! Well, guess what. . . . we even have trees. . . and lots of them!

There are several Christmas tree farms surrounding my home area. Today I will introduce you to six of them. They are all located in Oswego County.

Young Christmas tree saplings
These tree farms offer several varieties of trees. There are pre-cut trees, you chose-and-cut trees, balled trees (living Christmas trees to be planted later), and tall Christmas trees.

Some of these farms also offer wreaths, kissing balls, wagon rides, tree stands, carry-out bags, and Christmas boughs. Most of the farms that offer cut-your-own trees provide saws for you to borrow. Also a few have Santa visit their Christmas tree farm. Some of the farms offer refreshments for sale and a warming building.

Picking the right tree and how to take care of your fresh cut tree:
When you are selecting a tree, pull on a few of the needles. Make sure they are firmly attached. You might want to bend some of the needles too, to make sure it is not dry and brittle. If you have heavy ornaments you will need branches that are sturdy and stiff.
If you will be putting your tree up as soon as you get home from purchasing it ask the staff at the tree farm to put a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk of the tree. This helps in the absorption of the water. What this does is it removes the portion that has been clogged by the tree sap healing over the original cut. If you will not be putting your tree up right away store it protected from the wind and out of the sun. Also, put it in a pail of water. Before you bring it in the house put a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk between 1/4" to 1" wide all the way across the trunk of the tree.

Your tree stand is best if it holds about a gallon of water. More if you have a larger tree. The first time you water your tree use warm water. This will help the tree to absorb the water into its circulation system. After the first watering then you can use cold water. Check the water in your tree stand every day. The tree might take up to a whole gallon the first day and after that maybe a pint each day. Never let the water get below the cut end of the tree in the stand. Be sure to place the tree away from heat sources such as stoves, fireplaces, heat vents and away from the sun if possible. Miniature lights are best because they draw fewer amps, do not dry out the needles, and stay cool.

Some of the Christmas trees on Three Seasons Farm

The following list and descriptions are Christmas trees that are grown and sold in this area.

Balsam Fir: short, flat, long-lasting needles that are rounded at tip. They are dark green in color with a silvery cast. This tree has a very nice fragrance that lasts throughout the Christmas season. We've had several balsam trees and we love the smell of them, but they do not hold their needles as long as some of the other trees do like the Fraser fir or the Canaan Fir.

Blue Spruce: dark green, very stiff needles; will drop needles in a warm room; supports many heavy decorations.

Canaan Fir: similar to the Balsam Fir, but the needles last quite a bit longer than the balsam. We have been buying this tree the last few years and have been very pleased with them.

Tree baler
Colorado Blue Spruce: color can be very green to very blue; they are usually a very full tree. Needles are on the long side. The needles are very prickly. It has a fair fragrance, but good needle retention.

Douglas Fir: good fragrance, shiny blue to dark green; needles have the best aroma when crushed. The needles radiate in all directions from the branch. This is one of the major Christmas trees used in the United States. These trees are very full and sometimes even bushy.

Fraser Fir: dark green, flattened, short needles. Dark green color on top with silver-colored needles on the underside. This tree last throughout the Christmas season.

Scotch Pine: needles about 1" long; tree has very good needle retention. The color is bright green. This makes a good balled tree because it is easy to replant and the survival rate is excellent.

White Fir (Concolor Fir): blue-green, short needles. Very nice shape and has a citrus aroma. Good needle retention. They are a very slow grower, but can live to 350 years. I love the smell of this tree, smells just like a fresh-peeled orange!

White Pine: blue-green, soft needles; retains needles. Very full tree; has very little or no fragrance which would be a good tree for someone that has allergies to the fragrant trees. The largest pine tree in the US. They have good needle retention, but the branches are not strong and will not support heavy decorations.

White Spruce: bluish-green, short needles. Crushed needles have a bad order. Excellent foliage color and have a good natural shape. This tree is good for holding heavy ornaments.

Even if you put up an artificial tree you might be interested in purchasing some evergreen branches from a place that sells Christmas trees or a nursery in your area. You can put these branches in a little bundle and decorate your mantle or table with some fresh greenery. This will provide you with some seasonal pine fragrance for your holidays.

The yellow markers in the front of the picture designate the
snowmobile trial that runs through Spring Pond Farm

Some of H & H Trees and wreaths

Baled Christmas trees stacked up on Trust Nursery farms and ready for shipping to other areas 

Grangers Christmas Tree Farm

View of some of the trees on Grangers Christmas Tree Farm, Mexico NY

Amy Himes of Three Seasons Farm making Kissing Balls

Completed Kissing Balls

Three Seasons Farm

Here is a list of the Christmas Tree Farms pictured in this issue of my blog:

Grangers Christmas Tree Farm: 380 Tubbs Road,  Mexico, NY 13114
     Phone: 315-963-3480
     Facebook Page: Grangers Christmas Tree Farm (Facebook Page)
H & H Trees: County Rte 41 & County Rte 28, Richland, NY
Hemlock Haven: 460 County Route 22A, Sandy Creek, NY
     Phone: 315-387-5553 http://www.hemlockhavenfarm.com/
Spring Pond Farm: 3439 US Route 11, Mexico, NY 13114
     Phone: 315-727-7951 or 315-963-7590
Three Seasons Farm: 429 Dry Bridge Road Mexico, NY 13114
     Phone: 315- 298-6332
Trust Nursery: 4347 US Route 11 Pulaski, NY 13142
     Phone:  315-298-4184

Here is a link by your State to Christmas tree farms. After you select your state choose your Region and then they are listed according to counties:   http://pickyourownchristmastree.org/index.htm

Hope you find the perfect tree!!! 
Feel free to leave a comment. . .