On the street
A real one, it’s more of an authentic feel. It’s more wholesome.
• When you get the tree home, make a fresh, straight cut on the trunk, about an inch above the original cut.
• Use a water-holding tree stand, and immediately place the trunk end in water.
• Refill the water daily — which will keep the tree fresh longer. Trees can use up to a gallon of water per day.
• Keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators and TV sets, as they can dry out the tree.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Green Forest Christmas Tree Farm in Lecompton, Keith and Sonja Pittrich searched for this year’s tree.
“That one’s out,” said Sonja, pointing to a nice looking pine that could fool an amateur Christmas tree hunter.
The reason? A crooked trunk, which would make keeping the tree upright and straight nearly impossible in their Shawnee home.
Sonja joked that a young couple, perhaps out on their first Christmas tree hunt, would pick the tree for its full branches and tall height, only to learn the hard way that a straight trunk is a necessity.
The Pittriches have been picking out Christmas trees for more than 20 years.
“When I was a kid, we always did this,” said Keith, who has carried on the tradition with their own two children. “I’ve never had a fake tree.”
With all those years of experience, Keith says he can size up a Christmas tree pretty quickly. In addition to a straight trunk, he looks for one with the right height — about 8 feet — that doesn’t have too many missing branches.
Each tree hunter has his or her own particular specifications, said Green Forest co-owner Jim Myers.
“There’s no rhyme nor reason,” Myers said of the tree wishes expressed by the thousands of buyers he’s seen in 16 years in the business.
Some want a tall tree, some want a wide tree. Some look for the “perfect” tree, while some want the more scrawny and bare “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” look.
But Myers’ basic advice to customers is to pick a tree fits their space. Most important, though, is enjoying the family experience, he said.
As Myers reminisced about his years at the farm, a young couple — perhaps hoping to start their own Christmas tree hunting tradition — backed their pickup truck near the needle-shaking machine. The tree farm crew then “netted” the handsome-looking tree selected by the couple, and loaded in it the bed of the truck.
Sonja Pittrich walks past and eyes the younger couple, then their prized tree.
With a smile she says, “They got the one with the crooked trunk.”