If you are looking for a fun family activity and you are planning to use a real Christmas tree this year, why not visit one of the many Delaware Christmas Tree Grower’s farms to find that special tree and tag it.
Tagging will hold it for you until you return a few days before Christmas to cut it down and take it home to decorate.
For those of you who may be interested, here are some common varieties of Christmas trees grown and sold in Delaware and guidelines to help you select the perfect tree.
• White pines have silvery blue-green needles that are soft to the touch. Needles are grouped together in clusters of five; they are very slender and are two and one-half to five inches long.
Cones on this beautiful tree are long-stalked, yellow-brown in color, and have thin, round scales. The bark on the white pine is grayish-green to dark green in color.
• Scotch pine needles are dark blue-green and grow in clusters of two, usually twisted, and are one and one-half to two and one-half inches long.
When properly pruned and trimmed, the Scotch pine can be made very bushy. In addition, this variety holds its needles longer than most Christmas tree varieties, making the Scotch pine more popular.
Cones on the Scotch pine are between two and five inches long and the top of the scales are flat with a slight prickle. The bark on younger trees is scaly and a bright orange-red in color, but on older trees, it tends to be darker.
• Douglas fir has short-stalked needles that are attached around the twig. These dark yellow-green or blue-green needles are soft and pliable to the touch. In contrast to most true firs, (they usually have rounded blunt buds), the Douglas fir has reddish-brown buds that narrow at the tip into a sharp point.
The cones on the Douglas fir make identification easy because they hang downward with long three-toothed leaf-like bracts, obviously sticking out beyond the tips of the thin rounded scales. These two to four inch cones are light brown in color.
• Colorado blue spruce has very distinctive bluish foliage. This picturesque tree has needles spreading more or less around the stem. These 1/4 to 3/4 inch long needles are stout, rigid, and bend as to curve inward and are very prickly.
The cylinder-shaped cones are slightly narrowed at each end and are two to four inches long. These pale shiny-brown matured cones are jaggedly toothed at the narrowest end.
If you would like the 2009 Delaware Christmas Tree Consumer’s Guide, call the Delaware Department of Agriculture. In Delaware only, call 800-282-8685. This pamphlet lists approximately 15 Christmas tree farms and garden centers. Just think of the fun family memories you will be able to recall for many years to come by visiting and tagging your special tree at one of Delaware Christmas tree farms.
Lastly, for those of you who have evergreen trees in your landscape and are worried someone may come and take one to make it their holiday tree, try using the “ugly mix”. “Ugly mix” is the name given to a combination you can make to spray on your trees. When mixed according to directions and sprayed on your tree, it makes the tree appear dead. For an “ugly mix” recipe, call your local Extension Office:
Sussex County: 302-856-7303
Kent County: 302-730-4000