Tree Truths

Eric Draper

1. How did the tradition of decorating evergreens at Christmas begin? The tradition of decorating evergreens can be traced back to ancient times in Rome and Egypt in celebration of the winter solstice. In 1510, the first Christmas tree was displayed in Riga, Latvia. Early decorations included ribbon, food, lace and tin. The custom was later brought to America during the Revolutionary War by Hessian mercenaries.

2. What is the height of the tallest tree in history? The world’s tallest recorded Christmas tree was a 221-foot Douglas fir at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle in 1950. In 2001, the tallest artificial tree stood at 170.6 feet and was displayed at Moinhos de Vento Park, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Also known as the “Peace Tree,” it was made of green PVC foliage and had a lightning rod and flashing lights to warn aircraft. 3. Can I buy a tree, sight unseen? Yes. Approximately 330,000 real Christmas trees each year are sold via the Internet or catalog. 4. How long does it take a Christmas tree to grow? Depending on the variety, the average tree takes seven years to grow 6 feet, the average retail height. Some trees require 15 years of growth to reach the same height. 5. How do trees get that perfect shape? Evergreens do not naturally grow into the picture-perfect shape that is popular for Christmas trees. As trees grow, farmers control their shape through regular shearing. By using clippers to control the width and form of the branches, farmers force trees to grow into the popular cone shape. 6. What are the most popular Christmas tree varieties? The most popular Christmas tree varieties include:(Click here) 7. What should I expect when I go to a farm to cut my own tree? Here are some tips from the National Christmas Tree Association: *