December 1, 2021

With Christmas around the corner, locals head out to find perfect tree

‘We had a good growing year’

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Lime Hollow Nature Center Executive Director Glenn Reisweber helps Katie Polasek, left, and Erica Shockley, an Ithaca couple, as they select a Christmas tree for their home.

It’s that time of year to bundle up in a coat, maybe a hat, bring along some hot chocolate and walk rows of Christmas trees until you find the perfect one. And there are lots to pick from this year.

“We had a good growing year,” Karen Bean, co-owner of Hill of Bean’s Christmas Tree Farm. “The trees are just great.”

The farm, located on Chapman Road in East Homer, has six varieties of trees for people to pick on weekends only. They are balsam, fraser, blue spruce, Norway spruce, concolor and canaan.

She said people who have pets that like to play around with trees should pick a spruce variety.

“It’s kind of prickly,” she said. “Once they touch it they won’t go near it again.”

Firs tend to be softer trees. She said concolor firs are the best trees for people who tend to be allergic to trees.

Bean said her favorite tree is a balsam.

“I think I had balsams as a kid growing up,” she said. “That’s the smell of Christmas to me.”

One of the top actions people can take to make their Christmas tree last longer is to keep it away from a heat source.

Bean also said that anyone who gets a precut tree or cuts their own tree but doesn’t plan on putting it in water right away should chop off a small additional piece of the stump so that it will be able to easily take in water.

George Lee, owner of Muncey Hill Tree Farm in Truxton, also said it was a good year for the around 600 trees he planted this year.

He said that even though it was more on the dry side this growing season, “rain came when we needed it.”

Right now the tree farm is only open on weekends or by appointment.

Lee said the top items people ask about are the size and shape of trees, followed by finding a tree that is fuller around the base and which trees have more of a fragrance than others.

He said before people come to get a tree they should know where they want to put the tree in their house and take measurements to ensure the tree fits in the space. He said they sell trees from 6 feet tall to 10 feet tall.

Lee recommends that before putting your tree in a holder people should stamp it down hard against a solid surface, that way any loose debris or needles will come off, giving the tree a more put together look and less mess when taking it inside.

The first few days are also crucial to watering the tree. Lee recommends checking the water levels every day for the first couple of days then checking and refilling as needed every three to four days after that.

Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville, which is having its annual Christmas tree and wreath sale fundraiser, also agreed that watering the tree and taking a bit off the end are important to making the tree last even to New Year’s Eve.

He also said picking a Christmas tree is a very personal decision.

“The best tree is the one you’re in love with,” Reisweber said. “It’s like picking the perfect car. I don’t have an answer for picking the perfect tree.”