OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Forestry Services is hoping you’ll keep it real this year! Though there is a reported national shortage of trees this year, you still have time to get yours and keep the tradition of fresh trees alive.
“What better way to start making holiday memories than to head out with your family to an Oklahoma Christmas Tree farm to select your tree,” said Oklahoma State Forester George Geissler. And what better way to keep growers in the business than to support their efforts by continuing the practice of purchasing real trees.
According to The National Christmas Tree Association, a real Christmas tree can be a living member of the family during the holiday season. Long after the holiday season, the experience of selecting, decorating and sharing your home with a real Christmas tree will provide children with treasured memories.
Real trees help the environment while they are growing and after they have graced your living room. Some 350 million Christmas trees are now growing on U.S. farms (about 30 million are sold each year), and as they grow, they will start to store carbon. When you’re done with the tree in your home, it can be turned into mulch, so the tree has a life that goes on.
“The Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association is a great resource to locate growers in our state,” said Geissler. “They have an updated ‘Find A Farm’ map on their website,www.okchristmastrees.com , showing the location of 12 ‘choose and cut’ growers that are selling trees at this time.”
When selecting your tree you’ll want to ensure it is fresh. There are two simple tests for freshness. First, check the condition of the needles. If bent gently, the needle from a fresh tree should bend rather than break. The second test for freshness is to lift the tree a few inches off the ground and then drop it on the stump end. If outside green needles fall off in abundance, the tree may not be fresh.
Once you purchase a real tree, care is important. If you purchase your tree from a “Choose & Cut” Farm, place your tree in a bucket of water or your tree stand when you arrive home. If you purchase your tree from a retail lot or allow the cut end to dry, simply make a fresh, straight cut across the trunk about an inch up from the original cut, and immediately place in a bucket of water or your tree stand. This opens the tree stem so it can take up water. Don’t ever let the container dry out or a seal will form and a new cut will be necessary. Fresh trees are thirsty. They may drink from one pint to a gallon or more of water per day, so please water daily.
Following these simple tips will keep your tree green and fresh through the holiday.
—Oklahoma Forestry Services
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