Guide to buying a pre-cut tree
Step 1: Plan
• Choose a place for the tree that is not near a heat source such as a fireplace or vent. This will help make sure the tree doesn't dry out.
• Measure the available space; take the measurements and a tape measure with you.
• If you're interested in a specific type of tree, research it ahead of time.
• Be sure to have a stand available. Some tree sellers sell them, but there's no guarantee they will still have one available.
Step 2: Choosing a type of tree
Several types of trees are available at seasonal retailers around Central Oregon. Most trees come from Oregon tree farms and are cut just before being shipped. While other types of trees might be found, these species are the most widely available:
Needles: Soft, 1 inch to 11⁄2 inches
Color: Dark green or blue-green
Price: Around $15
Douglas firs are one of the most popular Christmas tree species in the country and have a soft, sweet scent.
Needles: 1 inch
Shape: Pyramidal, with upturned needles
Color: Blue-gray with silver appearance
Price: Around $25
Noble firs, often used to make wreaths, have stiff branches well-suited for heavier ornaments. Also have a pleasing aroma.
Needles: 1 inch to 11⁄2 inches
Shape: Symmetrical, with round crown
Color: Dark green
Price: Around $30
Grand firs have long, lustrous needles that often have a glossy, feathery appearance. Strong aroma.
Step 3: Caring for Christmas trees
• If the tree will be left outside for more than a day before being brought inside, store it in a bucket of water in a cool, shady spot. Before bringing it inside, make a fresh cut of about ¼ inch to improve the tree's water uptake.
• Check daily to make sure the tree stand has plenty of water. Trees can drink a lot, especially at first. Plain tap water is recommended; additives have not been shown to increase tree life.
• After the holidays, recycle your tree. Most are turned into mulch. Local Boy Scout troops offer a pick-up service, usually starting in January.
Sources: Candy Cane Christmas Tree Co.; Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association; Home Depot
Oregon Christmas tree harvesting by the numbers:
Number of tree farm acres: 65,000
Number of trees harvested in 2011, by state:
Oregon: 6.4 million
North Carolina: 3.5 million
Michigan: 3 million
Pennsylvania: 2.3 million
Wisconsin: 2 million
Washington: 2.3 million
Most common tree types grown:
Douglas fir: 47 percent
Noble fir: 45 percent
Grand fir: 5 percent
Average number of years needed to produce a 6-foot tree:
Douglas fir: 7 years
Noble fir: 9 years
Grand fir: 8 years
Percentage of Pacific Northwest trees exported out of the region: 92 percent