Monday, December 3, 2007

Reader Q&A

More reader questions ...

From: Tiffany Bolton
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007
Subject: Tree Question

I've been doing some reading on your site related to shearing of trees and the angle at which this is done. In our home, we have the height space for a 10 foot tree, but we don't have the horizontal room for it to be 8 foot wide at the base. From our past experience, most trees at our local tree retailers will not be more narrow. Do you have any experience with people shearing a wider tree to fit their space? I guess this would cause a lot of blunt ends at the end of the branches, right? Any advice on how to disguise that?

Answer: Well, yeah. Pruning off branches will make it look ... well ... pruned. Like a shrub instead of a tree. I suppose if you got desperate you could "shave off" one side only and then put that against a wall to leave the full side showing. I'd first recommend though that you shop around for a tree shaped the way you want. You might check with local farms, call ahead and ask if they have many trees sheared at a 60 or 50 degree taper. Or ask if they have trees graded "cull" - they'll know what that means. Those trees will be "skinnier." Also, check with more lots. Bigger lots tend to have more variety in species, sizes and shapes. I face the same issue, since I live in a 150-year -old renovated row house in the city. It's only 10.5 feet wide total, so I get a skinny tree each year too. If you can't find a local farm or lot that has the perfect tree, there's always the online ordering option. I do this every year and just put in the notes on the order page "need a 60 degree taper 5-foot tree."

From: Debbie Marr
Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007
Subject: What type of tree is in those home decorating books?

Ok, I am at a total loss. Almost every magazine you pick up this time of year shows a beautifully decorated short needled Christmas tree that is so open it shows the ornaments beautifully. Every tree type I see on your site or at the tree farms is so full it doesn't show the ornaments the way the ones in the magazines do.

Answer: The open/sparse look is dependent somewhat upon the genetics of the tree, but mostly through the shearing practices of the grower more so than species. The more open, less dense look is starting to become more popular among consumers, so the Christmas Tree farmers will be working to meet that demand. However, the average tree takes 7 to 10 years to get to 6 or 7 feet high, and the majority of consumers still want a full, thick tree. Check with farms and bigger lots in your area and ask them if they have a "less sheared" tree or one that would be graded a "cull." The grower will understand what you are looking for.