, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News


December 13, 2013

A tree-mendous tradition

Evergreens an enduring symbol of the Christmas season


Making the purchase

With such a huge market in North America each winter, Christmas tree farming is big business. Pennsylvania and Michigan are the largest producers of Christmas trees in the United States, Condon said. In New England, Maine cuts its share of the holiday favorite, as do some small farms in New Hampshire, Lamprey said.

But both men purchase trees grown, nurtured and cut in Canada.

“The Christmas tree farmers really know how to shear trees these days,” Lamprey said. “Proper shearing produces tight trees, with lots of branches close together. And it produces more perfectly shaped trees.”

The freshness of a tree depends on when it was cut at the farm for transport. Prematurely cut trees end up drying out, resulting in a short life in warm living rooms because needles start to fall quickly after purchase.

“You want to cut after two or three really hard frosts because that’s what sets the needles,” Condon said. “Balsams and Frasers aren’t native here because they need a cooler summer than we have. That’s why they do well in Canada.”

One way to judge a tree’s freshness is to run a hand up a branch and analyze the needles that come off. If they snap in half when bent, they’re dry, but if the needles are pliant, fold over without snapping and give off a nice smell, chances are the tree is fresh.

While some arrive and find their evergreen soul mates in five minutes, others need longer, like two or three hours. And then there are those annual customers who are known to be so picky that nursery owners wince when they see them arrive in the parking lot.

“Although she was very loyal and came all the way over to buy her tree here, my aunt was one of those people I hated to see show up,” Condon said, chuckling. “You just couldn’t please her. She was on a quest. She’d spend hours here trying to find the perfect tree.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Special Features