By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PLATTSBURGH — This year, Heather Smith and her family sought out a full, well-shaped Christmas tree for their Chazy home.
They settled on a blue spruce, which they cut down themselves at D & D’s Tree Farm in West Chazy.
Spruces are known for having very picky needles that tend to deter pets and children from messing with them, according to David Goslin, who owns the farm at 407 Beartown Road with his wife, Deborah.
“I thought that’d be good with the cat,” Heather said. “He tried to climb it (our Christmas tree) last year.”
In addition to spruces, balsam firs and Fraser firs also make up the Goslins’ 20 acres of land, which the public is invited to explore by foot in search of the perfect holiday tree to chop down and take home.
All sizes of trees grow on the property, including some reaching up to 23 feet tall.
“We have a lot of big, big trees,” Goslin said.
For those less than 9 feet in height, customers will pay $35 at D & D’s; trees 9 feet or taller cost $45.
The balsam firs, Goslin said, are by far the most popular type of Christmas tree he sells, as they are soft to the touch and fragrant.
“It’s that woodsy, very nice smell,” he said.
Frasers, however, are good for people who plan to decorate with heavy ornaments, Goslin noted, because they have sturdy branches.
“People with old-fashioned ornaments that are heavy seem to prefer them,” he said.
And though Fraser firs don’t put off a fragrant smell, they do hold their needles well, according to Waldo Potter, owner of Potter’s Tree Farm, which is now selling pre-cut Frasers and balsams in the lot next to Viking Ski Shop on Route 3 in Plattsburgh.
“The needles stay on so much longer,” he said of Frasers.
Potter’s trees range from about $20 to $70 in price and about 5 to 15 feet in height.
Dan Hobbs, who, along with his wife, Nancy, owns Hobbs Hill Tree Farm in West Chazy, said he can never be sure what characteristics his customers will be looking for in their holiday trees.
Many people, he noted, seek out wide trees; though, some prefer slender ones.
“We have somebody that comes (every year) to pick the ugliest tree on the lot,” Nancy said.
The Hobbs’ have about eight to 10 acres of trees on their farm, located at 7286 State Route 22.
About 95 percent are balsam trees, Dan said, and the other 5 percent are spruce.
People can drive out on the lot and cut down a tree using their own saw or one provided on site.
Customers of Hobbs Hill pay $30 for trees up to 7 feet tall, and $5 per every additional foot.
Jared Smith, of Plattsburgh, goes to Hobbs Farm every year to pick out his Christmas tree.
Because he lives in an older home with narrow doorways and a lot of furniture, Jared noted, he chose a small tree this year.
“I was looking for a short, not so large tree,” he said.
In addition to the selection of balsams and spruces, Dan and Nancy offer customers complimentary hot chocolate and sugar cookies, which Dan makes himself.
“It’s a true mom and pop (business) because there’s just mom and pop working here,” Dan said.
Regardless of the size or shape of the tree one chooses, it’s important to ensure it is healthy and will last until Christmas, he noted.
One way to tell if a tree is in good health, Dan said, is to rub its branches through one’s fingers.
“If (a lot of) the needles are falling off, you don’t want to buy it,” Nancy said.
Christmas trees can last for about three to five weeks once they’re cut, according to Dan; however, keeping the tree watered is essential to its longevity.
In fact, the trunks of cut trees that go without water for even a day, according to Goslin, will form a seal at the bottom and will need to be re-cut in order for the tree to hydrate.
Potter added that putting a little Miracle Grow in the water given to Christmas trees can also help keep them lively through the holidays.
“Just don’t let them run out of water,” Goslin said.
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