Sunday, October 22, 2006

Balsam Christmas Trees

We live in an area with many tree farms. Many people do not realize the work that goes into growing Christmas trees. The trees need to be planted, trimmed and harvested. Many of the farms plant a variety of trees because of the different rate of growth for each species of tree. Because we live close to several of the tree farms we go out and cut our own tree each year.
When I was growing up my parents had Norway pines on one end of the property. We always cut down one of these trees and dad would try to shape it before bringing it into the house. The long needles made it difficult to hang ornaments. Since I have been married we have tried many varieties of trees. Our favorite is the balsam Christmas tree. We also like the looks of a blue spruce, but it is so prickly that you have to wear gloves while putting on the lights. The balsam Christmas tree has a wonderful fragrance and is soft to the touch. It has short needles and sturdy branches so it is easy to hang many ornaments on it. The balsam Christmas tree also holds its needles very well so there is not the problem of shedding that many of the other short needle varieties have.
Last year when we went to cut down our tree we were told that a new field had been opened for cutting. This field featured the balsam Christmas tree that we were after, but also had several of the Frasier firs. The Frasier fir is suppose to be the most aromatic of all evergreens and does not shed. We tried one a few years ago and liked the looks of the tree and the fragrance; however the branches are very soft. The soft branches cannot hold the heavier Christmas ornaments that we have collected through the years. This meant that many of the ornaments that had the most meaning to us were placed in the inner branches. We decided that because of this we would not spend the extra money for a Frasier fir again.
Many of the tree farms offer a shaker service as well as a bagging service for the trees that are cut. The tree is placed in a stand on an automatic shaker that helps get rid of dead needles and other debris that may be in the freshly cut tree. The tree is then shoved through a barrel that has netting on the end. The netting is cut the length of the tree and tied on both ends. This allows for easy transport as well as ease in getting the tree in the house. The tree growers are always looking for ways to make getting your Christmas tree more enjoyable. We are looking forward to going to cut down our balsam Christmas tree again this year.