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Real Christmas trees still a holiday favorite
[November 30, 2010]

Real Christmas trees still a holiday favorite

Nov 29, 2010 (Muskogee Phoenix - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- With holiday season here, many people will be searching for a Christmas tree to add to the joy of the season.

Although artificial trees are economical and convenient, retailers say real trees continue to be very popular.

Jo Prout of Tahlequah said she always gets a real tree.

"I'm a grandmother, and as long as I can remember, I've always had a live tree," she said. "It smells good and looks beautiful. I actually have two live trees in my house right now." Prout said her family traveled the world when she was a girl and had artificial trees, but her preference is a real Christmas tree. It's part of the annual family tradition to visit a nearby Christmas tree farm.

"I take my grandsons with me to pick out the tree," Prout said. "They're ages 5 and 6. My son Kyle Cooper drives a big Chevy Suburban with a trailer attached. The little boys are already at the age when they ask about it at Thanksgiving." Prout and her family go to the Janda Bend Christmas Tree Farm.

Owner Jerry Adams said he tries to make the customer's visit a warm family event.

"We've been selling trees for five years," he said. "We don't have electricity out in the farm, so I set up a little generator and a shelter where I can give them some free apple cider or cocoa." Families come from nearby or as far away as Bentonville, Ark., he said.

"We have a 'chose and cut' farm," he said. "Families will come out here look over the selection until they find one they like. I have some bow saws I'll provide them with. If they're elderly or it's a woman with children, I'll cut down the tree for them." Adams said the varieties of Christmas trees each has their advantage.

"Virginia pines are one of the few that grow well in Oklahoma," he said. "They're easy to trim into the conical Christmas-tree shape. The Scotch pine have a more prickly look to the needles. I think most people just like the appearance. The Leyland Cypress is a tree that is popular in the South. The Loblolly is a timber pine that is tall and narrow." Adams said trees at Janda Bend are sold by how tall they are. Prices vary from $5 to $6.50 per for foot, depending on the variety.

For anyone who doesn't have time to visit a Christmas tree farm, several local merchants sell both real and artificial trees.

At Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, Assistant Manager Nick Davis said Christmas tree sales are off to a brisk start.

"It's really too early to tell whether real trees will be more popular than artificial trees," he said. "We'll sell most of our trees two to three weeks before Christmas. We have Frazier firs, Douglas firs, Scotch pine and Noble fir. They range from 6 to 12 feet tall." Davis said real trees are available in prices from $14.97 to $60. A wide variety of artificial trees are available with or without different colors of lights.

Reach Keith Purtell at 684-2925 or kpurtell

Tree farms --CAL2HOMA Christmas Tree and Mum Farm -- 489-2876. Address: Route 1, Box 30-2 (Highway 10, north), Gore. Christmas trees: Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress (green and blue varieties) and other Oklahoma-grown trees. Choose and cut farm. Refreshments. Hours: 9 a.m. to dark Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Call for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening appointments.

--Janda Bend Christmas Tree Farm -- 458-0834 and 207-2404. Address: 26426 E. McLemore Hollow Road, Stilwell. Website: Trees: Virginia Pine, Scotch Pine, Leyland Cypress, Loblolly, other Oklahoma grown trees. Chose and cut farm with refreshments. Hours 2-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Other times by appointment.


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