Lincoln- With the holidays fast approaching, some Nebraskans might be considering buying a real Christmas tree.
There are several options available throughout the state, but locally grown trees offer the freshest choice for customers.
An estimated 25,000 Nebraska-grown trees will be available this Christmas season, a supply that Dennis Adams, Nebraska Forest Service forester at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said should be unaffected by drought this year.
Most Christmas tree farms in the state open around Thanksgiving and are "choose and cut" operations, which allow customers to select and cut their own tree.
"Cutting a live tree ensures a better quality tree, plus it provides a unique and pleasant family experience," Adams said.
A fresh, well-watered tree minimizes the threat of fire, and also adds beauty and aroma to a Christmas celebration. More than 25 farms in Nebraska grow live trees, a fresher choice than pre-cut trees.
"Even pre-cut trees from Nebraska are much fresher than trees cut and shipped from western and northern states, often long before Thanksgiving," Adams said.
Some people have concerns about cutting down living trees for decoration. However, most trees sold at these farms are specifically grown for harvest. Growers spend an average of seven years cultivating a crop of Christmas trees and then replant each year to begin the process again.
"By purchasing a real Christmas tree, you are using a renewable resource rather than depleting un-renewable resources used in manufacturing artificial Christmas trees," Adams said.
To find a Christmas tree farm near you, contact any UNL Extension, Natural Resources District or Nebraska Forest Service office or visit http://agr.ne.gov/publications/promotion/christmas_trees/trees.html or http://nebraskachristmastreegrowers.com/findafarm.asp.