Picking The Perfect Christmas Tree05:25
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Four-year old Vera Martin prepares the Christmas tree at her home on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife on December 8, 2013. (Desiree Martina/AFP/Getty Images)
Four-year old Vera Martin prepares the Christmas tree at her home on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife on December 8, 2013. (Desiree Martina/AFP/Getty Images)

With nine days to go before Christmas, time is running out to get a tree.

If you prefer real trees but don't know what kind to get, Wisconsin Christmas tree farmer Marianne Kass joins Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson with pointers on which trees are best for holding ornaments, and what variety holds its needles the longest.

Interview Highlights

What to look for in a Christmas tree

“It’s all in the eye of the beholder. The Fraser Fir has a little thicker branch – doesn’t quite have the aroma that the Balsam Fir does, it’s more of a lemon smell than the Balsam Fir. The Balsam Fir is sheared quite densely, and branches are a little bit thinner, so a little bit harder to hang ornaments on, so that’s why the Fraser Fir has taken over as the hot item."

On the idea of growing trees just to cut them down

“We replant three-to-one for all the trees that we cut. We’ll be planting 9,000 trees in April, so it’s a constant cycle of growing and planting. The trees absorb the carbon dioxide and they admit oxygen into the air. The land that we grow our trees on and most Christmas trees grow on land that really isn’t suitable for good, agricultural crop growth. And so there’s a great turn around, they can only last so long, we can only shear those trees for so long. So it’s a great thing for the economy and the environment – everybody wins.”

How to care for a Christmas tree

“Once you bring that tree inside your home, it thinks it’s spring time. And so, if it loses the water in the base of your stand, it’s going to dry out. You can never allow that water to dry out completely in your stand or the tree will seal off at the bottom and stop drinking. So, our trees, when they come in the house, they’ll drink a gallon of water a day, sometimes twice a day. And that’s key to keeping it fresh and moist. Those trees inside, if they’re watered, they’ll last four weeks or longer. We’ve had people have their trees up until Valentine’s Day.”

Guest

This segment aired on December 16, 2013.

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