Georgia Christmas Tree Assoc.

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Choose and cut Christmas tree:

When buying a choose and cut Christmas tree for the first time, many feel lost and overwhelmed by the choice. Most farms will have from several hundred to thousands of trees to choose from. They will insist that you make the decision on which tree to buy. From that point on they will offer assistance in many ways. The following items may or may not be offered at the farm you select but all farms will offer quality trees at a reasonable price.
 
When you arrive at the farm you will likely be greeted by someone offering you information about how the farm operates, along with parking instructions, and usually a bow saw to saw the tree down with. Some will offer a measuring pole for you to carry marked in 1 foot lengths to give you an idea about the size of the trees in the field and the price of the tree.
 
Some farms will offer to cut the tree for you if you desire. Others do not have staff to do this on busy days. Weekend days are usually busy because children are out of school and they need to be involved in the selection of "that special Christmas Tree"
 
Pricing of trees are handled different in different farms. Some say all trees are a set price. Others will price by the size of the tree, usually by how high the tree is. Others will place price tags on each tree in the field.
 
Picking a tree size. Many people have difficulty selecting the proper size tree for their location in the home. Remember to know how tall a tree your location will accept as well as diameter. The tree will look small in the field because of the relation to other objects are not there. The sky or clouds are a rather high ceiling. When you look at a tree in the field remember the height of your ceiling at home and select one that is at least 6 inches shorter. (Another misconception many have is that a stand adds height. Only about 1-3 inches.) As mentioned above many farms offer a measuring pole to assist you in selecting a tree of a size to fit. (Don't cut the top out of a tree and leave a high stump in the field). If you cut a tree above lower limbs and the owner discovers it he will add the length to your tree for price when pricing by the foot. Cutting most trees above the lower limbs will leave large holes as the limbs turn up and will result in an unsightly tree. Always cut the tree as close to the ground as possible. You need the space without limbs for your stand especially if your stand is a ring type.
 
After you have selected the tree you want it is time to cut the tree. Remember the tree has to fall down. You cannot saw a tree that someone is holding up to keep it from falling. Laying the tree down will not break the limbs. Leyland Cypress trees are bad to bind the saw and may need one of the party to pull the top away from the saw kerf to assist the one cutting the tree. When you feel the tree starting to move when pulling it is time to stop to prevent spliting the trunk.
 
Getting the tree to the checkout area. -- Some farms use golf carts, tractors or other equipment to haul the tree out of the field for you. Others have nothing to haul the tree and expect you to get the tree out. Two people can carry a tree easily, The strongest at the base of tree, other holding up the top. Some drag trees which is not recommended but usually don't do much damage.
 
At the farm checkout area different services will be offered. Some farms have shakers or blowers, or both to remove loose needles from trees. Leyland Cypress trees will not have loose needles, and sometimes shaking does damage the tree slightly. Some farms have net wrappers to protect the tree in the process of getting it to your home. If they do net your tree, we suggest that you leave the net on the tree until it is in the stand in its place in the home. Then cut the net down one side and remove. Limbs will return to normal in a short time.
 
Taking your tree home. You are responsible for this part of the Christmas tree purchase process. If you own a truck, come to the farm in it so you can easily haul the tree home. Never load a tree with the top forward in an open vehicle. It will blow out or damage the limbs at highway speeds. A tree will not blow out of a pickup truck bed with the base forward in the truck. If you have other items in the bed that holds the tree above the floor, tie the tree. If you must haul a tree on top of a car or SUV remember to bring your rope. The farm may have twine to tie with but it is not as strong as needed. Most farms will not tie the tree on your vehicle, they may assist you but they will not accept the responsibility of tieing the tree. Too many are lost and there have been fatalities in Georgia because of Christmas trees coming off the top of cars. If you are buying the tree and expect to haul it for a distance of more than 25 miles on top of a vehicle, bring a plastic garbage bag or small tarp to cover base of tree to prevent wind damage.
 
Loading into the trunk of a car is possible but don't have all your Christmas gifts in the trunk and expect to get the tree in also. Trees over 8 ft. tall usually cannot be loaded in a car trunk. Normally the best way to haul in trunk is to place tree base into left side of trunk, Top out of right side and tie trunk lid down to hold the tree. Many newer car trunk lids have no place to attach tie downs that make this a difficult way to hall trees. Check your trunk lid if you plan to haul tree in trunk.
 
When you get the tree home, the farmer hopes that you use a good stand that holds at least 1 quart of water for each foot of tree height. Many farms sell quality stands that hold several quarts of water. A live Christmas tree will drink up to 2 gallon of water each day. If the water level in the stands ever drops below the base of the tree it will seal and not take up more water. The tree will dry out and loose its natural beauty. You need to check stand water at least twice each day. We suggest that you not purchase a stand with a ring for the tree to fit into unless you get a stand with a ring size that will accept up to 6 and 1/2 inches trunk diameter. Most of the Georgia trees will have base trunk sizes in the 4-7 inch size. Most quality stands will have a tree height rating. Watch for this and be sure to select a stand designed to hold the tree you have selected. Many farms sell what are known as pin stands that fit into a hole drilled in the trunk of the tree by a special drill machine. These stands are reasonably priced and easy to set up. Other farms have not invested in the expensive drill machines and sell other type stands. All that sell stands will have quality stands that will hold the trees they sell. If you take the tree directly home and place it into water within 2-3 hours after cutting the old cut 1/4 inch off the base may not be necessary but is still a recommended procedure.
 
You will surely find a pleasant experience at the Georgia Christmas Tree farms. Most offer more than one variety of tree but almost all will have the Leyland Cypress as their main tree. This tree is not popular on tree lots but when cut fresh on a farm and properly maintained in the home you will find a tree that has one feature that makes people come back to it. IT DON'T LEAVE NEEDLES IN THE CARPET. Some complain that the Leyland Cypress won't hold heavy ornaments. We have a new strain called the Murray Cypress that has the good features of the Leyland and better ornament holding characteristics. Many farms will have them this year.
 
Farms offer many services such as hayrides, gift shops, picnic areas and many other activities that may extend around the year. Check with the farm you select for these activities.


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