Finding the perfect Christmas tree

Make memories chopping down the family Christmas tree this season. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Make memories chopping down the family Christmas tree this season. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The Christmas season is upon us and it's time to pick out that iconic symbol of the season -- the tree.

People will soon be heading to area tree farms to pick out the tree that will sit in their living rooms, awaiting jolly old St. Nick to fill it with presents.

Eric Mott is the director of Abbey Farms in Aurora, Illinois.

"Where we're at specifically in Illinois, our soil is not the most conducive to Christmas tree growing but we do manage to grow a fair amount," he said. "We grow Scotch pine, White pine and Norway spruce right now. We are experimenting, trying to get some fir trees to grow in our fields."

Pine trees take about 7-8 years to get to the 8-foot mark. The spruce trees take 8-9 years to get to 8 feet, he said.

They sell "a few thousand" trees each season, he said, and plant somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000-8,000 trees a year. They sell precut trees -- especially firs trucked in from Michigan.

"People still enjoy cutting down their own trees," he said. "They're looking for a family experience, making memories chopping down the Christmas tree. I know there are people out here that have been doing it for decades. They keep coming back."

There are many reasons to buy a live tree -- not just for the delightful scents in your living room. During its growing period, a tree provides a habitat for birds and animals. Additionally, when a tree is taken down, three more are planted in its place.

"That's always a beneficial part to the environment. You get that great aroma in your house and they look beautiful," he said.

With proper care, a live tree should last through the season and even into the new year, he said. That includes keeping it away from heat sources and making a fresh cut on a precut tree stump so it absorbs water. Make sure the tree stand always has water in it.

"It doesn't take long for that stump to seal up and stop taking water," he said. "Then it will dry out really fast."