Just after dark one evening in mid-November, I walked past a large Norway spruce tree that had been recently placed on Galion’s Public Square. It stood like a sentinel ready to herald in the season’s festivities at the tree lighting ceremony on December 1. The four-stories-tall evergreen was already at work by filling the frosty air with an incredible fragrance, fresh and piney, that you just cannot capture in a jar of wax. The old carol “O Christmas Tree” came to mind and brought a huge smile to my face. The Public Square tree lived its life in residential area, but most Christmas trees in Ohio are grown on Christmas tree farms.
Evergreen trees have become the most beloved symbol of the Christian holiday. If you choose a real tree this season, dress warm and prepare to have a lot of fun shopping for it. Whether you visit a cut-your-own farm or shop at a Christmas tree lot, the outdoorsy-ness of the trip makes it feel like an adventure. There are a few decisions to consider: you’ve got your medium needles (Scotch pine), and long needles (White pine); your firs (Douglas , Balsam, and Fraser), and many more, especially grown for the purpose of making the Christmas holiday merry and bright. All of these trees are wonderful, in their own way. What I think you need to consider the most is how heavy your ornaments are. Firs, like Balsam, Fraser, and Douglas will fill your home with a citrusy/piney fragrance, but their branches do not easily support the weight of resin types of ornaments. For those, a Scotch pine is a better choice. Whether cutting your own or choosing one already cut, ask the tree attendant make a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk for better water absorption when the tree is indoors. Many dealers will also put the tree in the tree stand for you and give you helpful tips on how to care for the tree during the time it is inside your home. Water is the most important factor, as a cut tree usually needs one gallon of water a day to keep the needles from drying out.Carl Yeager, president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association (OCTA), states on the OCTA website that the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the first day of Christmas tree sales. Grabbing up retail deals on Black Friday is fun for many people, but if that’s not for you, why not make it a Green Friday by visiting your local tree farm or lot and getting first dibs on the selection? My husband and I have been raising evergreen trees in rural Galion since 1973. Our main business is landscaping; the trees we raise for Christmas are for people who want a live tree. A live tree still has its roots and come “balled and burlaped” to hold the roots together. Many people like this type of tree because after Christmas, the tree becomes part of their landscape. Growers like us depend on larger tree farms to supply our “cut” trees. Often these farms are located on acreage that cannot support other crops, such as land that was strip-mined. The trees stabilize the soil, protect water supplies, provide refuge for wildlife, and create greenbelts throughout the countryside. And talk about a great emissions rating! Each year of its life one evergreen tree produces enough oxygen for 18 people. For each tree that is harvested, three seedlings are planted in its place, continuing the cycle of life. When the holidays have wound down and all the decorations are put away, a real tree is still at work helping the environment. Most towns and cities have a tree pick up day, where the street crew will take your tree to a chipping station to be turned into mulch. For people with larger properties, the tree can be taken outside and placed in the yard to be used as a habitat for birds and rabbits. An industry doesn’t get much greener.
To find the freshest trees, OCTA is here to help. If you do not have access to the Internet, call (740) 828‑3331 or visit your local library and schedule an Internet session. The OCTA website makes it easy to find a Christmas tree farm near you. Go to: http://ohiochristmastree.com/. From the home page, click on the link “Choose and Cut Trees”, which has an interactive map that shows where farms are located, or you can do a search by entering your zip code. How easy is that? Then load up the car with friends and family and head out for some fun in the great outdoors.
Marcheta Gibson and her husband, Jim, have owned and operated Gibson Landscaping since 1973. Along with live trees, each Christmas season they make and sell live wreaths, swags, and grave blankets as well as selling cut trees grown on Ohio tree farms. Their business is located at 1350 Nazor Rd., Galion, Ohio, 44833. (419) 468‑1134.