Date Posted: Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Categories: Department of Agriculture
DOVER — Thirty Delaware farmers have fresh-cut and live Christmas trees available for First State families this holiday season, with local firs, spruces and pines in abundance – all easy to find at de.gov/christmastrees.
“Buying a local live tree from a Delaware farm is the best way to help farmers while having some good old-fashioned family fun,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “There’s nothing like the scent of a fresh-cut tree combined with knowing you’re helping a local Delaware-grown family business.”
Growing Christmas trees is a specialized business in Delaware, with growers selecting particular varieties for attractiveness or other features. It typically takes seven to 10 years to grow a thriving 7-foot-tall First State Christmas tree. Christmas trees also help the environment by taking in carbon dioxide and sending fresh oxygen out, and farms help provide habitat for wildlife while stabilizing the soil. This is the busiest time of year for Delaware’s Christmas tree farmers, but they work year-round to care for their trees.
To pick the right tree, examine it carefully, looking out for these details:
>> The shape and size of a tree will depend on where you plan to place it and the height of the ceiling in your home. Some people want a more slender tree like a fir, while others like a larger, fuller tree like a spruce, and still others prefer a fuller, bushier tree like a pine.
>> Although most people prefer a well-rounded and shapely tree, you may find it more practical and economical to buy one that is somewhat flat or sparsely branched in one side, so that it fits into a corner or against a wall.
>> While “choose-and-cut” purchasers gain in popularity, families that buy their trees from retail lots can also check for freshness. They can test cut trees by bending needles to check resilience (if it springs back into position, the tree is fresh); bumping the base of the tree on the ground (if the needles don’t fall, the tree is fresh); and feeling the bottom of the trunk (if sappy and moist, the tree is fresh).
When the tree is home, families still need to care for it to make it stay fresh throughout the season:
>> Keep a cut tree in a cool, shaded area, sheltered from wind, with the trunk in a bucket of water until you are ready for set up.
>> Just before putting a cut tree into its stand, cut an inch or two off the butt end. This fresh cut will allow the tree to more readily take up water once it is moved inside.
> Fresh trees take up water at a very fast rate. You should check the water level two hours after setting up the tree. Then, check the water level at least once daily to see that it is above the bottom of the tree’s trunk. It is not uncommon for trees to take up a quart or more of water daily.
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Director of Communications & Marketing
Delaware Department of Agriculture
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