By Rick Close and Natalie Davis
For many, the holiday season officially begins with the yearly hunt for the perfect live Christmas tree. With a freshly cut tree, the tradition of the quest makes memories that last a lifetime.
As a tree expert, he has one secret tip for finding the perfect tree this year: "Pick one that speaks to you," Close said. “A good quality, healthy tree will last for weeks with proper care and maintenance.”
When perusing the lot, Close suggests testing the branches and needles of the trees for freshness. “Run your fingers along the needles, grab the branches and bounce the tree a little,” he explains. “If the tree is fresh, very few needles should fall off. If many do, it's a sure sign that the tree was cut long-ago and has not been watered enough.”
variety of Christmas tree has its own personality. Check out the pros and cons of different species:
- Douglas Fir
- Colorado Blue Spruce
- Scotch and Eastern White Pine
- Firs, including Balsam, Fraser and Canaan
- Living Christmas Trees
the perfect Christmas tree has made its way home, Close has one
suggestion for keeping it fresh.
“Water,” he says, “is the essential ingredient for maintaining Christmas tree freshness.”
Hydration prevents needles from drying and dropping off and helps maintain fragrance. Trees may drink up to several quarts a day, so check the water level daily.
Keep the Green Growing by Tree-Cycling
When the holidays are over, make sure to recycle the tree. Each year, 93% of Christmas trees are recycled and turned into mulch for landscapes, gardens or chipped for use in playgrounds and hiking trails.
Nationally, there are 4,000 available recycling programs. Most municipalities will collect trees during their regular pickup schedules in the two weeks following Christmas. Check with your municipality or the local recycling center about tree-cycling. Before recycling the Christmas tree, remove all non-organic décor, like lights and ornaments.
Finding the Perfect Live Tree
- Alstede Farms, 84 Route 513, Chester, 908-879-7189
- Am-Jac, 26 Plains Rd, Augusta, 973-948-4222
- Brookhollow Farm, 425 Powerville Road, Boonton Twp., 973-610-1963
- Country Heritage Farm, 129 Plains Road, Augusta, 973-875-5590
- Dixiedale Farm, Hillside Ave & River Road, Chatham, 973-635-2097
- Evergreen Farm and Golf, 1750 Union Valley Road, West Milford, 973-728-6030
- Fleming Farms, 55 Kings Highway, Long Valley, 908-852-6996
- Gardens of the World, 58 Whitehall Road, Andover, 973-786-6023
- Giordano's Tree Farm, 350 Route 94, Newton, 908-231-8847
- Granata's Nursery, 312 Naughright Road, Long Valley, 908-850-1483
- Hamilton Farms Greenhouses & Farm Market, 130 Old Denville Road, Boonton Twp., 973-334-6528
- Hendershot Christmas Tree Farm, 381 Ridge Road, Newton, 908-637-6720
- Hidden Pond Christmas Tree Farm, West Field Road, Mendham, 973-865-6362
- Hillside Hose Company No. 1, 132 Western Ave., Morristown, 973-917-8240
- Middle Valley Farms, 304-b Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham, 973-543-7789
- Ort Farms, 25 Bartley Road, Long Valley, 908-876-3351
- Parks Farms LLC, 525 Route 24, Chester, 908-879-5509
- Plut's Christmas Tree Farm, 220 Flocktown Road, Long Valley, 908-852-6669
- Ralston Nursery Farm, 327 Mendham Road West, Mendham, 973-543-7923
- St. Paul's Abbey Christmas Tree Farm, 297 Route 206 S, Andover, 973-383-2470
- Sudol's Farm, 76 River Road, Montville, 973-299-1784
- Stony Hill Farm Market & Gardens, 15 North Road 8 Route 24, Chester, 908-879-2908
- Tranquillity Farms, 10 Tranquillity Farms Lane, Route 517, Andover, 908-979-0303
- Valley View Farms, 290 Route 206 South, Newton, 973-579-7271
- Wightman's Farms, 1111 Mt. Kemble Ave., Morristown, 973-425-9819
Any other suggestions? Please share them in the comments. And share a pic of your decorated tree; we'd love to see it!