Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Narrow Trees for Condos

Many people are beginning to think about their tree and decorating needs now that we are into November and chillier weather (at least it’s chilly here in St. Louis).

We got a great question from Travis this week about finding a narrow tree that fits in an urban condo. I face the same problem, as I live in a rennovated, 140 year old row house in St. Louis. The whole space of my place is only 14.5 feet wide, so I HAVE to get a narrow tree too. Here’s

Travis’ question and my advice:

From: Travis
Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006
Subject: suggestions???

We live in Chicago, in a great, but tight condo. We entertain alot, so we can't afford to lose a lot of floorspace for a tree. Do you have any suggestions on what type of tree we should get? We would like something very fragrant, tall (about 9 ft), but very slender. Pls advise.

Answer: That's a great question Travis. I'm in a similar situation and I'm sure many others are as well. Here's the main tidbit to know in order to get the best-sized tree for your situation. Taper is the term used to describe the general shape the tree is sheared. It's a measure of the proportion between a tree's height and width (at the widest point, usually the bottom whorl of branches). In general, trees are typically sheared to a 80 degree taper. This means, if a tree is 10 foot tall, it will be 8 foot wide at the bottom. Or, if it is sheared to a 50 degree taper, then a 10 foot tall tree will be only 5 feet wide.

Now, just about any species of tree can be sheared to different tapers, plus fullness of branches, space between whorls, leader height, etc. So it's not so much a matter of asking for a particular species, but asking the farm or retail lot person for a tree with a smaller taper. If you want a 9 foot tree, you should ask for one with a 50 or 60 degree taper, which will be pretty narrow. Level of "fragrant-ness" is completely subjective, so I can't tell you one species will smell "stronger" than another. However, I can tell you that most fir species sheared to that narrow of a taper will be more open, meaning space between branches...you will be able to "look through it". If you get a pine or spruce species, there will be more "fullness" to the appearance of the tree. Now, this is a general guideline, because like most things in nature, there are variations.

If you are going to a farm to cut a tree yourself, I do suggest calling ahead (and call during business hours on a week day if possible so the farmer him/herself is available). Tell them what you are looking for so you know if they have any trees like that available. Happy Hunting!

Note: For all you scrapbookers out there....
The National Scrapbooking Association will be hosting Harvesting Memories Charity Crops on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11. The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation is the designated charity for the events and will receive donations. Crops are being held in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Pasadena (CA) and Concord (NH). http://www.harvestingmemories.org/

Keep the questions coming!