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Select the perfect Christmas tree using these tips

Posted: Thursday, Nov 29th, 2012

Walnut Ridge Farm owner Gary Harman of Indianola, Iowa, unloads donated Christmas trees during the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association “Trees for Troops” program at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012. “Trees for Troops” delivers real Christmas trees to military families at more than 60 military bases overseas and in the United States. This is the program’s 7th year and it is expected to collect and deliver between 17,000 and 20,000 trees nationwide. Iowa growers will be donating 80 trees. Photo by David Purdy/The Des Moines Register

• Cutting down your own tree not always possible

BROOKINGS – About 36 million Christmas trees are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While artificial trees enjoyed increased sales for the past decade, those sales have stagnated and now there is a return to having the traditional tree, says John Ball, SDSU Extension forestry specialist.

“A traditional Christmas tree is also the environmentally friendly way to celebrate the holidays. The average artificial Christmas tree has a lifespan of six years before it ends up in a landfill. The traditional Christmas tree, while used only one season, can become valuable mulch, a winter bird feeder or even used as a fish habitat after the holidays,” Ball said.

The way to obtain the freshest tree is to harvest it yourself at a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm, Ball says.

“This way you are guaranteed a ‘fresh’ tree rather than one that may have been harvested several weeks earlier,” he said.

If cutting your own tree is not possible, Ball says to use these tips to check for freshness at a Christmas tree sales lot.

For the complete article see the 11-29-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-29-2012 paper.

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