Tracking down good trees not too difficult

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Portales nursery owner Curt Jaynes said a good way to check on a tree’s freshness is to pull on its branch, and remember healthier trees are slower to shed needles.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ Staff Writer

Across the country millions of people are flocking to nurseries and tree farms to pick out Christmas trees.

About 31 million trees were bought throughout the country last year,
according to the to the National Christmas Tree Association.

At his nursery in Portales, Curt Jaynes said he usually sells out of
christmas trees. This year he bought 40 cut Christmas trees and about
60 live potted trees.

Allsup’s tree lot employee Matthew Hill said there are about 500 trees spread throughout Clovis’ Allsup’s locations.

Here are a frew tips from local nurseries on selecting and maintaining christmas trees during the holiday sesaon:

Is it fresh?

Unhealthy trees shed needles quicker, according to the national Christmas Tree Association Web site.

Pulling on the branch is one way to test the freshness of a tree, according to Jaynes.

Guthals Nursery owner Charles Guthals suggests thumping the trunk of
the tree against a hard floor to shake the needles out is another way
to inspect the freshness of a tree.

Keep it moist

“Every tree that’s in everybody’s lot, mine included, are in the
process of dying the day your looking at them because there’ s no root
system,” Guthals said regarding cut trees.

Trees should be placed in water as soon as they are purchased, according to Jaynes.

A basin filled with water under the tree would keep the tree as fresh as possible, Guthals said.

For trees that have not been preserved before purchase, the National
Christmas Tree Association Web site suggests cutting off a half an inch
from the trunk before placing it in water.

Guthals said trees should be kept away from heat sources to prevent them from drying out.

He said applying snow flock to the tree keeps trees from shedding neeles, and also acts as a fire retardant.

Recycling trees

Cut trees can be used as mulch for gardens and lawns, according to
Jaynes. Guthals suggests allowing the mulched tree to sweat out harmful
acids until decomposition is visible before applying it to the soil.