The holiday season is upon us and the hunt for the perfect tree is in full motion. According to the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, there are approximately 35 million trees sold in the United States each year; and here in Madison County, there are thousands of real trees sold each year from our local Christmas tree farms.
Growing and maintaining Christmas trees is no easy task. During the year, tree farmers have many responsibilities such as preparing the soil for the planting of new seedlings, weed control, disease and pest control, shearing, harvesting, marketing and more. From planting to harvest, trees can take anywhere from four to 20 years to reach maturity. Christmas trees can help to stabilize the soil, protect local water supplies and support complex eco systems.
New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University has been a key player in providing tree farms throughout New York State with the information they need to maintain healthy and happy trees.
“Here in New York, Christmas tree growers use solid IPM practices to deal with pests — and most insects aren’t hanging around this time of year anyway,” said Elizabeth Lamb, a NYS IPM Christmas tree expert. NYS IPM has a checklist for local growers to look at during the season along with timely trouble shooting tips.
CCE had a chance to speak to local Christmas tree grower, Matthew Critz, who said, “The trees look great this year, we have had a nice growing season and no pests.”
Christmas tree sales make up around 30 percent of the business at Critz Farms, where they both retail and wholesale their trees. Tree farms stretch the length of the county with farms like Critz Farms in Cazenovia, Romagnoli’s Christmas Tree Farm in Canastota and Czajkowski’s Christmas Treeland in Munnsville.
Not sure if you are going to purchase a real tree this year? Let’s break down some of the reasons why buying “real” can be a real good move.
Did you know that one acre of Christmas trees can remove around 500 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and also produce 1,000 pounds of oxygen each year? That single acre of trees can produce enough O2 to provide the daily oxygen requirements for you and 17 of your family members and friends. In New York State alone, the 17,000 acres of Christmas trees produces 5,740 tons of oxygen annually, or the weight of 25.2 Statues of Liberty.
Real trees can also be composted once they come down in your homes and after all ornaments, tinsel, etc. are removed. This can ensure that unnecessary waste (ie. artificial trees) don’t end up at the local waste management location, which can take centuries to break down. Also, purchasing a local grown, real Christmas tree is helping to safeguard the tree farms of Madison County and continuing the tradition of the annual Christmas tree hunt for generations to come.
Looking for tips on tracking down the best real Christmas tree?
Visit NYS IPM’s blog: blogs.cornell.edu/nysipm/2017/12/02/how-to-choose-a-healthy-happy-christmas-tree.
Find more information on real Christmas trees by visiting the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York at ctfany.org/ or the National Christmas Tree Association at realchristmastrees.org.
Cornell in our Community is a bi-monthly column produced by the educators at CCE-MC. Please visit our website (madisoncountycce.org), ‘like’ us on Facebook, and feel free to visit us at our Morrisville location (100 Eaton Street) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315)684-3001.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.