Find the perfect tree fir you

Jenna Gerling

Reed Strimple takes a ride around his farm on his new cart. “I was worried about how this thing would handle in the snow,” says Strimple, “but I’m pretty impressed.”. David Ranucci | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

In the distance, I can hear the rhythmic jingles of the bells on the giant Clydesdales. I climb onto the old wagon with hay bales as temporary seats. Being pulled around the crooked path up to the tree lot, I finally reach the green dotted, snowy hills — and the race to find the perfect Christmas tree at Manner’s Pine Tree Lodge has begun.

Before you even leave home, you should have certain things in order. Make sure you have a good tree stand, one that is sturdy and the right size, and make sure you’ve measured the area where you want to put your tree. You really don’t want to buy a 7-foot-diameter tree when you only have a 5-foot-diameter stand, or have a 10-feet-tall tree when your ceiling is only 8-feet-tall. Just remember to take the tape measure with you while shopping.

Also, make sure you have a blanket to protect the roof of your car and some heavy-duty twine or rope to tie it down securely. Some farms provide twine and rope, but you can never be too careful.

Now, it’s time to choose the type of tree that’s right for you. There are many choices: firs, pines, spruces, cypresses and red cedars. But it’s all about preference. If you prefer short needles, you should try something like the Fraser or fir. If you like softer, longer needles, you should try a pine. Keep in mind that trees with shorter needles hold heavier ornaments. The longer needles tend to be a bit softer, but can still hold a decent amount of weight in decorations.

Keep an eye out for a fresh, healthy tree. Fresh trees should have shiny, green needles, not dry brown ones that fall off when you pull on a branch. Your tree should also be lush and full, with small spaces. But if your tree seems to have a few holes, you can always turn it to face the wall.

It’s always a lot of fun choosing and decorating your very own tree. Now that you’re prepared, you can begin.

Contact all correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].