BETHLEHEM TWP . - Agriculture Secretary
Charles M. Kuperus today helped usher in the Christmas
tree-selling season in New Jersey by cutting down a
fir tree at a prize-winning Hunterdon County farm.
for a fresh Christmas tree is a time-honored tradition
for many New Jersey families," Kuperus said. "Nothing
compares to the look and smell of a fresh-cut Christmas
tree grown right here in the Garden State."
Secretary Kuperus cut down the Concolor fir tree
at Black Oak Farm in Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon
County. Farm owner Robert Housedorf was this year's
winner of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers'
Association's annual competition for the best Christmas
tree grown in the state.
Housedorf, 71, has grown Christmas trees on the
nine-acre farm since 1958. This is the second time
in fewer than 10 years he won the contest's best-in-show
Black Oak Farm will donate the tree cut down by
Secretary Kuperus to the Bethlehem Township Senior
New Jersey is home to nearly 100 Christmas tree
farms that account for approximately 1,800 acres
of the state's open space and generate approximately
$2 million in annual sales, according to the most
recent U.S. Census of Agriculture. In addition, dozens
of smaller farms that are not counted in the U.S.
Census are located throughout the state.
The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers' Association is a state organization
of growers, professionals and industry leaders dedicated to the promotion
and marketing of Christmas trees and related products. It was organized
in 1950 and has 200 members throughout New Jersey.
Attached are recommendations from the Association
on selecting and caring for Christmas trees.
The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers' Association suggests the following
when selecting and caring for your Christmas tree:
- Dress accordingly when shopping for that perfect
tree. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes or boots
- Select a tree that best fits your needs. Consider
your ceiling height as well as the weight of your
ornaments when determining the size and type of
tree you choose. Remember that in the field, the
sky is the ceiling, making trees appear smaller
than they actually are.
- Do a freshness test. Gently grasp a branch between
your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you.
Very few needles should come off. Shake or bounce
the tree on its stump. An excessive amount of green
needles shouldn't fall to the ground. Some loss
of interior brown needles is normal. Needle retention
is excellent on all pines, including Austrian,
Scotch, Mexican border and white, and on Douglas
firs. Colorado blue spruce is very good for needle
retention. Norway and white spruce hold their needles
- If you're not going to decorate your tree right
away, place it in a container of water and store
the tree in a cool, shaded area, sheltered from
the wind, such as in a garage.
- Before you bring your tree into the house, cut
an inch from the stump. The fresh cut enables the
tree to more readily take in water.
- Place the tree in a tree stand filled with one
quart of water for every inch in diameter of the
tree trunk. The average six-foot tree has a trunk
with a four-inch diameter, meaning the tree stand
should hold one gallon of water.
- Always keep the tree stand filled with water.
Otherwise, a seal of dried sap will form over the
cut stump and prevent the tree from absorbing any
water. Fresh-cut trees absorb a pint to a quart
of water each day. Check the water level daily
and always keep it above the cut end of the tree.
- Keep your tree away from heat and draft sources
like fireplaces, radiators and television sets.
Be sure your light cords and connections are in
good working order. Be sure to unplug lights before
you go to bed or leave the house.
To locate a choose-and-cut farm near you, visit
the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.
For a history of the Christmas tree tradition, visit
the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers' Association's
website at www.njchristmastrees.org or
the National Christmas Tree Association's website