Tip Sheets

The Christmas tree-buying season is starting early, here’s how to make sure you get a good one

Media Contact

Kaitlyn Serrao

Even though Thanksgiving dinner plans are still gearing up, many people are already preparing for the next holiday season. That means planning out where and when to buy a fresh Christmas tree.

Elizabeth Lamb

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Elizabeth Lamb is an ornamentals specialist and senior extension associate with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s New York State Integrated Pest Management program. She says you are going to want to look for a tree early this year.

Lamb says:

“While the tradition used to be getting a tree a week or so before Christmas, Thanksgiving weekend now starts the Christmas tree-buying season off with a bang. Some ‘choose and cut’ operations are even starting a little earlier than that! Check the Christmas Tree Farmers’ Association of NY for local farms’ websites and contact information.”

“Things to think about when choosing a tree:

  1. What kind to get? Balsam and Concolor are known for their fragrance. Look for a more open tree if you want to hang ornaments on it and check the branches to see if they are stiff enough to hold your ornaments.
  2. We’ve usually had a couple of good freezes in the Finger Lakes before tree-buying season but if you live in other parts of the state, you might wait until that is true before getting a tree. Cutting them when they are dormant helps with needle retention and we want the needles on the tree and not the floor.
  3. Get the freshest tree you can! Cut it yourself or buy locally cut trees where you can ask where they are from or when they were cut. If the branchlets dry and break when you bend them, or green needles come off when you run your hands over the branch, it isn’t fresh enough.
  4. Get the tree in water as soon as you can. If it is over 24 hours, make a fresh cut on the trunk – taking off about an inch – to let the tree take up water.  And don’t let the tree stand go dry. A stand with a larger water holding area makes that easier.”

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