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Purchase locally grown tree this Christmas

Staff Report • Nov 30, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Many Upstate residents will be decorating for Christmas this weekend and local growers hope they will be hanging those ornaments from the branches of a product of Tennessee’s burgeoning Christmas tree industry.

As the NET News Service reported earlier this month, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the perfect tree for your holiday celebration. Christmas tree farmers across the region are reporting very good crops this year.

The National Christmas Tree Association offers the following tips for selecting the right tree for this holiday season:

Be sure you know what size tree you need before heading to the retail lot or tree farm.

Go to a retail lot that is well-lit and with trees stored in a shaded area. Some species last longer and remain fresh longer than others in different climates.

Do a freshness test on the trees. Green needles on fresh trees break crisply when bent sharply with the fingers. Look for indicators of dryness, such as excessive needle loss, discolored foliage, musty odor and wrinkled bark. When in doubt about the freshness of a tree, select another one.

Ask the retailer about opportunities to recycle Christmas trees in your community. Many areas host a “Chipping of the Green” in January to turn Christmas trees into mulch for landscaping.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has teamed up with the Johnson City/ Washington County Chamber of Commerce to establish a tREeCycle program to place Christmas trees in area lakes to create “habitat improvement structures” where fish can hide and find food.

For a complete listing of Tennessee Christmas tree farms and for tips on how to choose natural trees for cutting or for post-holiday planting, visit www.picktnproducts.org and click on the Christmas tree.

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