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Christmas in Carroll County

christmas-carroll-county-illinois-tree-fireplace
Before the family cuddles up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy the pleasure of a warm fireplace and watch the flames dance upon crackling logs as they spread their Christmas warmth, remember to take a leisurely drive through beautiful Carroll County and pick up a fresh cut Christmas Tree. Nothing exudes that unmistakable holiday ambiance quite like the scent of a fresh cut Christmas tree!

As long as you’re out and about, might as well do a little holiday shopping too. You’re certain to find unique gifts at any one of our many local vendors. In fact, you’ll probably find some special indulgence for yourself as well!

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Why Buy a Fresh Cut Christmas Tree?

Using a Real Tree Gives Peace to the Earth
More people than ever are concerned with how things affect the environment. Although this concern often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, families can easily make one choice that will help them do their part to better the environment. That choice is to use a fresh, natural, Real Christmas Tree as the centerpiece of their holiday celebration.

“Unlike artificial trees, Real Christmas Trees are renewable and recyclable, ” says Mel Koelling, Forestry Professor Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. “However, many people still perceive cutting trees down as bad for the environment and that is not the case. Real Christmas Trees no longer come from the forest. They are grown on farms throughout North America.” Today, nearly all Christmas Trees, 98%, are grown on farms, according to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA)”.

Once they are discarded after the holidays, there are many uses for recycled Real Christmas Trees. However, artificial trees are manufactured overseas from petroleum. These plastics and cannot be recycled and provide no benefits to the environment.

So as you celebrate the season of Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men, provide some peace to the Earth and goodwill toward the environment. Make the environmentally-friendly choice in Christmas Trees. Choose a fresh cut, Illinois grown, Christmas Tree!

Christmas Tree Varieties

Balsam Fir
As a Christmas tree, balsam fir has several desirable properties. It has a dark-green appearance and attractive form. It also retains its pleasing fragrance. Nine to ten years in the field are required to produce a 6-7 foot tree.

Needle Retention: Fair
       Fragrance: Excellent
 Needle Softness: Excellent

 

Concolor Fir
As a Christmas tree, Concolor fir has good foliage color, a pleasing natural shape, and and excellent needle retention. We aren’t kidding when we mentioned aroma! This tree bears a wonderful citrus scent.

Needle Retention: Excellent
       Fragrance: Excellent
 Needle Softness: Excellent

 

Canaan Fir
Canaan Fir has similarities between the Balsam Fir and Fraser Fir. It is a newer variety and is finding an increasing popularity with its symmetrical shape and fullness.

Needle Retention: Fair
       Fragrance: Good
 Needle Softness: Good

 

Colorado Blue Spruce
Blue spruce is finding increasing popularity as a Christmas tree as a result of its symmetrical form and attractive blue foliage. The species has an excellent natural shape and requires little shearing. It is best to setup your Blue Spruce as a cut Christmas tree later in the Season (preferably after Dec. 1st).

Needle Retention: Fair
       Fragrance: Fair
 Needle Softness: Fair

 

Douglas Fir
The Douglas Fir is a softer, more fragrant, variety of tree. The branches are spreading and drooping. The needles are dark green or blue green in color and usually 1 to 1 ½ inches long. They have a sweet fragrance that is often used in holiday potpourri scents.

Needle Retention: Good
       Fragrance: Excellent
 Needle Softness: Excellent

 

Fraser Fir
The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green color, pleasant scent, and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser fir being a most popular Christmas tree species. It requires from 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree.

Needle Retention: Excellent
       Fragrance: Excellent
 Needle Softness: Excellent

 

Scotch Pine
As a Christmas tree, it is known for its dark green foliage and stiff branches that are well suited for decorating with both light and heavy ornaments. It has excellent needle retention characteristics and holds up well throughout harvest, shipping, and display.

Needle Retention: Excellent
       Fragrance: Fair
 Needle Softness: Fair

 

White Pine
For Christmas trees needle retention is good to excellent. White pine has very little aroma, but, conversely, is reported to result in fewer allergic reactions than do some of the more aromatic species. The needles are very soft to the touch. However, they are unable to hold heavy ornaments. To produce a 6-foot tree requires 6-8 years.

Needle Retention: Good
       Fragrance: Fair
 Needle Softness: Excellent

Christmas Tree Selection

christmas-carroll-county-illinois-fresh-cut-treesBefore you select your tree, think about where you would like to display it in your home or business. Use a tape measure to verify the area you would like to fill. This will help narrow down the choices as you select your tree on the farm or retail lot.

Once on the farm or retail lot, do a freshness test. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger. Then pull it toward you.

Very few needles should come off in your hand, if the tree is fresh. Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. You should not see an excessive amount of green needles fall to the ground. Some loss of interior brown needles is normal and will occur over the lifetime of the tree.

Make sure the handle or base of the tree is straight and 6-8 inches long so it will fit easily into the stand.

Once you have found your perfect tree, follow our care instructions to ensure freshness for the remainder of the season.

Caring For Your Tree

The best thing you can do for your fresh tree is water it often! When you get home, follow these simple steps and you will have a fresh tree throughout the holiday season.

  1. When you get home, set up your tree bag and stand. Cut one inch off of the base of the tree. This fresh cut will allow the tree to take in water. If you don’t do this, the base seals up with sap within minutes and will not take water.*
  2. Immediately set your tree into the stand filled with warm tap water.
  3. Keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators, and television sets. Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they’re in good working order. Never use cords with cracked insulation or broken or empty sockets. Also be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Never overload electrical circuits
  4. Enjoy your tree and make sure to water it every day! Your fresh tree will take several quarts of water each day, if cared for properly. (You may be surprised to see your tree take in over a gallon each day in the beginning!)

* Please note: If you do not want to setup your tree right away when you get it home, keep it in a cool place like the garage for a couple of days. Follow the steps listed above when you are ready to put it up.

Recycling Facts

In a national survey, 66% of consumers who selected a Real Christmas Tree said they recycled theirs in community programs. Real Christmas Trees are recycled for five main types of large-scale uses for post-harvest trees. These are:

  • Chipping (chippings are used for various things from mulch to hiking trails)
  • Beach front erosion prevention
  • Lake and river shoreline stabilization
  • Fish habitat
  • River delta sedimentation management

Today around 98% of Real Christmas Trees are grown on farms throughout all 50 states and Canada. Real trees are a renewable, recycle resource, and Real Trees are planted to be harvested just as corn and/or pumpkins are cultivated for harvest.

For each Real Christmas Tree harvested, up to two new seedlings are planted in its place, depending on farm size and current field rotation. Young trees, in their rapid growth years, have a high rate of photosynthesis and thus produce more oxygen than older trees.

The cycle of environmental benefits that Real Christmas Trees provide begins when 35 million American families choose to celebrate the holiday season with a fresh real tree. Trees are given back to the environment via recycling programs. Then new seedlings are planted in the Spring. This year, over 70 million new seedlings will be planted by Christmas Tree farmers all over America.

We encourage you to contact your local tree farm to find out how you can recycle your tree this year and give back to your community.

This information courtesy of:

map-buttonDollinger Tree Farm
23882 Payne Road
Shannon, Illinois 61078
815-964-2437

dollingertreefarm.com

Choose and cut trees. Handmade wreaths of various sizes and colors. Lovely assortment of country and Victorian holiday decorations. Open first weekend of November, daily 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Open Thanksgiving Day 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

map-buttonWest Point Tree Farm
12306 West Point Road
Mount Carroll, Illinois 61053
815-244-9684

Choose and cut Christmas trees available in the following varieties: Blue Spruce, Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, and White Pine. Open weekends after Thanksgiving from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM or by appointment.