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Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association shares its tips and trade this holiday season.
Photo: PR (Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association)
More than 1,000 Christmas-tree farmers call the Pacific Northwest home, meaning a majority of the holiday icons are grown in the region. Why is that statistic important to Nevadans? Because chances are you’ll be buying your tree this year from one of those growers.
One of the main tree producers in the region is Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, which prides itself on distributing environmentally friendly real trees. Following is information on the types of trees you typically find in Nevada and tips for selecting them, courtesy of PNCTA.
Types of Trees
DOUGLAS FIR: Has soft needles that are dark green-blue in color and radiate in all directions from the branch. When crushed, they have a sweet fragrance. The Douglas remains one of the most popular Christmas trees species in the nation.
NOBLE FIR: The Noble’s needles turn upward, exposing the lower branches. The tree is a beautiful, long-lasting species, and its stiff branches make it ideal for heavy ornaments. The species is growing in popularity and is widely used to make wreaths, door swags, garland, and other Christmas products.
GRAND FIR: The Grand is one of the tallest firs, reaching heights of 300 feet. It is easily distinguished from other Pacific Northwest firs by its sprays of lustrous needles in two distinct rows that are usually horizontally spread so that the upper and lower sides of the branches are clearly visible.
Selecting Your Tree
• Be sure to know what size (height and width) you need before heading to the retail lot. Smaller trees can make a great tabletop display for smaller apartments or condos.
• Do a freshness test. Look for green needles that have a nice smell.
• Look for other indicators of dryness or deterioration: excessive needle loss, discolored foliage, musty odor, needle pliability, and wrinkled bark. A good rule-of-thumb: When in doubt about the freshness of a tree, select another one.
• Involve the whole family and plan fun things for everyone to do during the trip. With the proper care, the tree your family selects will stay green and healthy throughout the holidays, minimizing clean-up and maximizing Christmas joy. Below are a few tips.
Keeping Your Tree Green
• Make a fresh cut (at least one-half inch) on the bottom of the tree to open up the pores, which have been clogged by sap. If you do not make a fresh cut, the tree will not be able to drink water.
• After the cut is made, put the tree in water as soon as possible. The longer the time between when the tree is given a fresh cut and when it is put into water, the less ability the tree has to absorb water.
• Place the tree in a sturdy stand, which will hold at least one gallon of fresh water.
• If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, it should be stored in a bucket of warm water on a cool porch or patio away from wind and sun in warm climates, and protected from freezing temperatures and wind in cold climates.
• An average tree consumes between a quart and gallon of water daily. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and the tree will absorb no more water unless another fresh cut is made. Don’t forget to add water every day.
Real Christmas Trees Are “Green”
If you’ve ever heard that real Christmas trees are hurtful to the environment, don’t believe it, and here’s why:
• While growing, real trees release oxygen into the environment, protect soil from erosion, and provide refuge for wildlife. The trees also absorb carbon dioxide
• Each acre of Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people.
• Pacific Northwest Christmas trees are grown on sustainable farms in the U.S., just like produce, nuts, and other crops, so they do not threaten natural forests.
• Christmas trees are often grown in soil that won’t support other crops.
Recycling Your Tree
Real Christmas trees are recyclable and can be used as mulch along park trails or compost for gardens and turned into corrugated packaging o underwater habitats for fish. Visit earth911.org for complete listings of where to recycle real Christmas trees.
Southern Nevadans can bring their cut Christmas trees to the Springs Preserve for free recycling, December 26 to January 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recycled Christmas trees are chipped into mulch and used for environmentally friendly landscaping projects at the Springs Preserve and throughout the valley. Please remove your tree stand and all decorations. Flocked trees cannot be recycled. Visit springspreserve.org for additional drop-off locations across the valley.
Cut Your Own Tree in Lincoln County
For the ultimate Christmas tree experience, head to Lincoln County where visitors can select and cut their very own tree for the holidays. The trek itself is guaranteed to be an adventure. The Bureau of Land Management offers permits for sale at $3 each with a maximum of five tags per person. Permits are available at nv.blm.gov/ely. For more information, call the BLM at 775-726-8100.
Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association