Tis the Season to Select Your Tree
As our annual holiday open house approaches, our green thumb staff has been busy transforming our nursery into a magical tree wonderland where your family will love picking out the perfect Christmas tree. We are often asked, which fresh cut tree varieties are the best and how to properly care for your tree at home to maximize its beauty and time enjoyed in your home.
There are many popular varieties to choose from, however our top three have become the dominate species selected for Christmas trees in our Western New York area.
Fraser Firs are terrific Christmas trees; they’re “Tanks,” heavily needled, full and naturally shaped. They hold up very well with excellent needle retention and branch strength, (to hold those heavier ornaments.) They have a wonderful blue / green coloration. Like their cousins, the Balsam Firs, they have a fragrance that reminds folks of Christmas.
Douglas Firs are an “all time” favorite. They are full with a classic Christmas tree shape and wonderful needle retention. They tend to be a softer, less prickly tree and are popular in households where there are young children. They have a subtle pine scent that many families prefer.
Concolor Firs are loved for their longer blue/green needles and citrusy fragrance. They have a truly unique “soft pyramidal” shape. Like the others, they also have excellent needle retention. Similar to the Douglas Fir, they have softer needles and branches.
Did you know that generally speaking, Christmas trees cut after Thanksgiving at local tree farms tend not to perform any better than the precut live trees purchased at Van Putte Gardens. That’s because local trees have gone dormant prior to cutting, sending the majority of their sap and water content down into their root systems for winter storage. Trees cut earlier tend to actually have a higher water content once cut because the water is still in their branches and needles. Internal water content is the key to longevity and needle retention.
Once you get your tree home and it has received a fresh cut, submerge the trunk it into a bucket of water or a large capacity tree stand that holds two or more gallons of water. Check your tree twice daily adding water whenever necessary. A popular Christmas tree preservative like Prolong will help your tree’s needles maintain their color and suppleness. Spraying Christmas tree needles, decorative roping, wreaths and greens with an anti-transpirant like Bonide’s Wilt-Stop will help lock in vital moisture and greatly extend the life of your decorations.
Live potted Christmas trees are popular with families that want a living, growing memento of each year’s Christmas season. We carry Blue Spruce, Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Fraser Fir container trees. These dormant evergreens may be used indoors as a Christmas tree for only a few days. Afterward they must be planted in the yard (in a pre-dug hole) or situated in a sheltered area and allowed to “to go back to sleep again.” It is advisable to keep them indoors for the shortest amount of time possible because they may not make the transition to the outdoors if allowed to come out of dormancy completely. Otherwise use them as an outdoor display; just make sure that they’re protected from excessive sun and wind as you would with any outdoor evergreen this time of year. Maintain adequate soil moisture so that they do not “freeze dry” but be careful not to overwater them; keep them moist, not sopping wet until planted or sheltered in a tool shed, unheated garage or the like, for the winter.
Come and take a stroll through our wide selection of Christmas trees with prices to fit every budget. Every tree purchased receives a fresh cut, drilling (if needed) and is wrapped in netting and conveniently mounted and tied on top of your car or placed into your trunk. We have lights, tree stands and tree removal bags available if needed. And don’t forget to pick up your free tree ornament – a Van Putte Gardens family tradition for years. We make celebrating a fresh-cut Christmas easy!
Success with your gardening, Naturally
Written by Rick Stecher
Garden Center Manager