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Ohio State expert has tips on Christmas trees

Forestry director offers guidance on cost, watering

For those in the market for a Christmas tree, the news is good. Although there is a limited number of trees, there should still be a tree for everyone.

According to Kathy Smith, forestry program director in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University, the early bird gets the worm these days, when demand may put a strain on the available supply.

“You have to remember that these trees you buy this year were planted in 2008 up to 2015. So, we don’t grow ourselves out of these shortages very quickly,” Smith said. “So, it’s still going to be tight. The earlier you buy the better you’re going to be.”

Costs for Christmas trees remain on the higher side, with price ranges similar to last year. Buyers should expect to pay around $11-$12 per foot for higher-quality trees.

“Now, you’re always going to have differences. More quality, higher-quality trees are going to cost you a little more versus something maybe more like a Charlie Brown tree that maybe doesn’t look as perfect, will probably cost a little less,” Smith said.

Trees get to buyers in a few different ways. Rural Christmas tree farms cut down trees and sell them at tree lots. There are also quite a few Christmas trees shipped to Ohio from North Carolina and other states, Smith said.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when bringing a tree into the house. The temperature and exposure to sunlight are the most important.

“Where do you have it? Do you have it in a window that gets direct sunlight that will dry the tree out? Some of the shorter needles tend to get dry a little quicker than some of the longer needles, but they all can dry out if you don’t take care of it,” Smith explained.

After determining where to put the tree, the next important things to do are provide a fresh cut and water the tree, she added.

“If you take it home and you’re not going to put it up right away, wait. And then when you’re ready to take it in, even the fresh-cut one that you just cut out in the field, you want to wait when you’re ready to set it up,” Smith said. “You want to make a fresh cut and put it in water immediately, so it starts to soak up that water and doesn’t dry out on you.”

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