If anyone is an expert in fresh Christmas trees, it's Dwight Thomas.
As owner of Sherwood Forest Garden in Oakland Township, Thomas has been selling Christmas trees for decades – 46 years, to be exact – and he knows which trees will last and which ones will dry up before you can say "Merry Christmas."
Here are his top five longest lasting Christmas trees:
- Concolor Fir. This tree is has soft, blue-green needles and "smells like oranges when you first bring it into the house," Thomas said. "They're hard to find, and I don't get that many," he added, "but you could hit Easter if you want to."
- Fraser Fir. The most popular tree at Sherwood Forest, the Fraser fir is dark green and lasts about five weeks. "It's in big production now, and the price has come down," Thomas said.
- Douglas Fir. This tree is "bright green, soft and fluffy," Thomas said. You can expect it to last about four weeks.
- Scotch Pine. This tree has blue-green leaves and reddish-orange bark. "It's priced much more reasonably" than other trees, Thomas said, though it lasts about three weeks.
- Spruce. This tree stays fresh for about two weeks, according to Thomas. It is somewhat popular because it is relatively inexpensive, though Thomas said he generally does not recommend the tree. "They're not very good," he said. "I don't even sell them."
For a list of places to buy a tree in Troy, click here.
Making your tree last longer
Thomas has three simple tips to help make sure your tree is still fresh by the time Christmas rolls around.
- Pay attention to when the tree was cut. "All trees have a date of when it has to be cut," he said. "If you miss those dates, some of the sap runs down into the roots. You want to catch the sap in the tree so it stays fresh." He added, "It's pretty much too late to cut your own tree, unless it's a spruce."
- Put it into water as soon as possible. Be sure to get the tree into water as soon as possible after the base is cut – preferably within 12 hours, Thomas said. "The sap seals the base otherwise, and then it won't absorb water." Thomas said the base can be cut again, if necessary.
- Keep your tree away from heat vents. "Christmas trees hate heat vents," Thomas said. "It dries it up unbelievably." Close the vents or place the tree in a location away from vents.
What you can expect to pay
Christmas tree prices "are pretty much the same as they've been the past five years," Thomas said.
At Sherwood Forest, Thomas said customers looking to purchase an 8-foot tree (which he says is the average size in Oakland Township) can expect to pay:
- $69-$79 for a Concolor fir
- $69-$79 for a Fraser fir
- Around $59 for a Douglas fir
- Around $49 for a Scotch pine
For further care instructions for your new Christmas tree, please visit the National Christmas Tree Association's website.
For Christmas tree fire safety tips, visit the U.S. Fire Administration's website.