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Why it's harder to find a Christmas tree this year

Why it's harder to find a Christmas tree this year

Living in an area (or home) with green space, including trees - well, it helps clean the air.

Miamians are feeling the effects of a national Christmas tree shortage as they scramble to find a shapely specimen and worry they may have to settle for a scrawny Charlie Brown version.

Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, said Central New Yorkers should be proud.

And that real tree sure smells better than an artificial tree.

So how much should you water the tree?

If you miss your city's Christmas tree collection time, you can chop up unflocked trees and put the pieces into a yard water bag for the next collection.

- Make sure the tree is not blocking your path to your door.

What happens to the tree after the presents have been opened is another factor to consider. The Boys & Girls Club sold out of its 5,000 trees about six days earlier than it usually does, and the big tent on USA 1 has gone from aromatically festive to totally deserted.

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- Take the tree outside when needles start turning brown and dropping.

"Customers are panicking, and when they come in here they say, 'Thank God we found you, ' " said Chris Winkler, who runs Holiday Sales. For those that are balled and burlapped, look for firm rootballs with no cracking.

Trees that are dropped off to the Trade-A-Tree program at the Natural Resource Center, 7413 County House Road, Sennett, will be chipped into mulch and used in public works projects and made available to the public. Though tempting, don't use the trunk as a handle to lift the tree, and avoid thumping it down hard against the ground.

Ornaments that hold special significance are an important part of trimming the tree for many families.

Always turn off decorative lights-indoors and outdoors-when leaving the house and before going to bed. The Christmas tree association hosts a presentation of prize-winning trees at the fair each summer. This is a good way to keep trees from being landfilled or dumped by the side of the road. Pop the rootball into a container that has at least two inches of gravel on the bottom, which will allow for the plant to be watered without it sitting in a puddle. Chop down your own tree during a guided "choose and chop" session, or pick up a pre-cut and jam. Bonus: This is also a hiker's paradise. Remove the container and place the tree in the dug hole so the top of the rootball is slightly above ground level.

Add water to the tree stand.

But the farm developed a following and now sells thousands of trees each season, growing around one thousand trees on site and importing specialty trees as well.


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