Many ways to branch out when selecting a tree

Something to suit every lifestyle locally
By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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Two weeks until Christmas and it’s evergreen season — with choices for a tree nearly endless. Real or artificial? Tall or short? Potted or freshly cut? Noble, Douglas or Fraser fir? At Pine Valley Ranch on Kemper Road, Robert and Sharon Hane have been growing Christmas trees for four decades. “We started the ranch in 1969, planted the first trees in 1970 and started selling them in 1979,” Robert Hane said Monday. His acreage includes Douglas fir, Grand fir and Scotch pine. He also trucks in three loads of pre-cut Noble firs from his ranch in Oregon. One of the most important considerations when choosing a tree is room size and ceiling height, he said. His advice is to measure first. “If you have a standard 8-foot ceiling, you’ll want no taller than a 7-foot tree,” Hane said. Animals around the house may mean some special planning. “If you have dogs that might jump on the tree, or cats (that bat the boughs), you might want a shorter tree, then sit in on something,” he said. Got lots of ornaments? You’ll want sturdy branches. “The No. 1 tree for lots of ornaments is the Noble,” Hane said. “The next, based on weight and capability are the Grand firs, Douglas firs and Scotch firs. All of them hold good ornaments. It depends on where you want to place them on the tree.” The Douglas firs at Pine Valley are “more open, so you can hang the ornaments farther into the tree, where the branches hold more weight,” he said. Hane’s No. 1 seller is the Douglas fir. “I think it is because it is a traditional color,” he said. “It has a good color and a good (scent).” Red Feather Christmas Tree Farm in Applegate specializes in Douglas fir, Scotch pine and white fir, along with Monterey pines, redwoods and cedars. Owner Jan Sutherland sells mainly 5-foot to 8-foot trees. But the sky (almost) is the limit. “If you wanted something 15 feet (tall), we have it,” she said. “We have some huge trees — logging size.” Keep in mind that for a redwood or cedar, you’ll want to use light ornaments, she said. And don’t get discouraged if you can’t find the perfectly symmetrical tree. “For a corner or against the wall, if one side isn’t perfect, no one will ever see it,” Sutherland said. “You can make a very nice tree out of it.” Once you get the tree (or trees) home, how you care for it will determine how quickly the needles dry and drop. “Slice off the bottom before you put it into the water-sand mixture,” Sutherland said. “That way it will suck up the water. Then just keep it watered for those two or three weeks and you’ll have it made.” Hane says cutting off a slice of the bottom is very important. “Even if you are only 10 minutes away (from where you purchased the tree), you need to make a new cut,” he said. “Because (if you don’t), the base will sap over and block water from entering.” After the initial watering, don’t let the container run dry. “(The tree) will not drink water after that,” Hane said. Placement is important, too. Don’t put the tree over a heat register and don’t put it next to a fireplace,” he said. “If you can, placing it next to an open window or in a room in the 70-degree range would be the very best thing for any tree.” For a live, potted tree, go to local garden stores such as Eisley and Yamasaki Nursery. Yamasaki in North Auburn even has a rental option. “There are so many benefits to having a live tree,” co-owner Keri Roeder said in a previous interview. “It is fire safe — it’s not going to dry out. Having live plant material helps clean the air you breathe. Because of the weight of the base, it will be difficult for children and animals to knock it over.” ------------ Christmas trees • Placer High Music Boosters tree lot, Orange and Finley streets, Downtown Auburn • Pine Valley Ranch, 10680 Kemper Road, Auburn • Red Feather Christmas Tree Farm, 2100 Red Feather Circle, Applegate • Cal’s Trees, Highway 49 at Luther Road • Yamasaki Nursery, 3700 Grass Valley Highway, North Auburn • Eisley Nursery, 380 Nevada St., Auburn