Little Elm Journal > News
Oh Christmas Tree: The business of those lovely branches
Christmas is starting to take root around the area, and one sign of the season is the selling of live trees. The recently cut conifers are a holiday business for Little Elm resident Tim George, who runs Farm Fresh Christmas Trees and has been selling trees for 12 years.
For the last five years, he's been selling them from a white tent pitched at the corner of Preston Road and U.S. 380. That location offers close proximity to several local communities, including Celina and Frisco.
“The main thing I hear from people is that they want the smell in their house,” George said about the reason his customers choose to buy live trees. “The Noble firs especially seem to carry that well into the season.”
George said the trees he sells grow about a foot a year, so the 10 foot and taller varieties he specializes in have been a decade or more in the making. He imports his trees from North Carolina and Oregon, where cool temperatures and ample rainfall provide an ideal growing environment. The trees he purchased this year came from small growers and where cut the week before Thanksgiving.
His largest tree this year was 16 ft.
Since opening Friday, he's sold about 20 percent of his trees, including many of the larger ones. In a typical year, he sells around 500 trees from a stock that includes four species: Noble Firs, Fraser Firs, Grand Firs and Douglas Firs, which belong to a different genus and aren't actually firs.
“The big trees go first,” George said. “The people that are going to spend more money tend to buy trees earlier.”
That includes the city of Celina, which secured the 12 ft. tree that will be used in its annual tree-lighting ceremony from him. Larger trees are popular around the area, he said, because of the high-ceiling designs used in many homes.
George sells his trees exactly as he buys them: by the species and by the foot. Noble firs are high quality – measured by how well they keep their needles attached – and more expensive, while Douglas Firs are much cheaper. An 11 ft. Noble fir carries an approximate $322 price tag, while a five ft. Douglas sells for about $50.
He keeps the top of a noble fir from last year to demonstrate its ability to hold needles. While completely brown, the tree has retained almost all of its needles.
In order to get the most from a live tree, George said that anyone buying one should have a half inch cut taking from the bottom before placing and keeping it in water, where it will drink similar to a flower. He added that trees should also be kept away from fire places, ceiling fans and heater vents, which will dry them out more quickly.