It's about time for families to walk the fields of their favorite Nebraska Christmas tree farm, searching for that perfect real tree to grace their living room for the holidays. With over 22 Christmas tree farms in the state, located across different areas in 17 counties, it shouldn't be difficult to find a tree farm. Nearly all of those farms offer customers the opportunity to choose their own tree growing in the field and harvest it, so freshness is never an issue.
According to the Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers' Association, most Nebraska tree farms are about three to eight acres in size. It takes about six to 12 years to grow a tree to saleable size, so tree farmers are known for their persistence and patience.
Scotch Pine has long been considered the most popular real Christmas tree growing in the state, because of its quick growth, good shape and color. However, tree farms in the state also offer Eastern White Pine, Douglas Fir, Balsam Fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir and Blue Spruce, among other varieties. Each variety has its specific attributes.
According to NCTGA, once you take your tree home, dislodge any dry needles that might be inside the branches of the tree. Keep the tree outdoors in a protected area until you are ready to decorate it. Keep the trunk in a large container of water. When you are ready to bring it in the house, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk, about an inch above the original cut. This opens the tree stem to intake water.
As long as the tree is in your house, keep the water container full. If you allow the water level to drop below the base of the trunk, you should make a new cut to the base, to reopen the stem for water intake.
Unplug Christmas lights on the tree before going to bed or leaving the house. Real Christmas trees are a safe and wonderful holiday tradition, as long as these simple rules are followed, says NCTGA.
Real Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, with about one million acres dedicated to about 15,000 tree farms across the nation. NCTGA says that two to three seedlings are planted for every tree that is cut.
If you'd like more information about choosing your real Christmas tree, finding a tree farm in your area, starting a Christmas tree farm or caring for real Christmas trees in the home, you can visit the NCTGA website or read the Nebraska Department of Agriculture's Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers Directory.