Frequently Asked Questions
- Do we need to bring a saw?
- How long does it take a tree to grow?
- What’s the best kind of Christmas tree?
- What kind of tree holds its needles the best?
- What kind of tree smells the best?
- What kind of tree is best to hold heavy ornaments?
- How do I know if my pre-cut tree is fresh?
- Does your farm have BIG trees?
- Can I bring my dog?
- Do you have anything else for the kids?
- Every year when I get home my tree is too big for my house. How do I pick the right size tree?
- How do I get to your farm?
A: No, we have saws available in our field for you to use. We do require a deposit that is refunded when you return the saw. You are welcome to bring your hand saw, or chain saw if you wish.
A: The time varies depending on species and conditions. A good rule of thumb is that most species used as Christmas trees grow nearly a foot a year once they’ve established themselves as seedlings. So, most 6-7 foot trees are roughly 8-10 years old or so from seed. You can always find the age of your tree by counting the rings of the stump. Each ring is one year of growth.
A: This is another popular question, and our favorite answer is: whatever kind of tree you remember from when you were a little kid coming out to see what Santa left under it! A more serious answer depends on the kind of criteria you want to use to define ‘best’. Since different criteria can lead to somewhat different answers, we’ve split those up into separate questions below.
A: A number of factors will ultimately interact to determine just how long your tree will ‘hold’ its needles. Species is a big part, but how long a tree was cut before being brought home, how warm and dry the room is in which the tree is kept, whether the tree gets a ‘fresh cut’ before going into the stand, whether the water level is allowed to drop below the bottom of the tree, and even things like the weather in the months prior to being cut, soil nutrition, and health of the tree can have an impact. As far as the species is concerned, however, true firs (Fraser/Canaan, Concolor, Grand, Noble, etc.) are known for their needle retention. Many of these species remain relatively fresh for up to four weeks after coming inside, and some even hold needles well without dropping after the tree begins to dry out. Douglas-fir, pines, and blue spruce are typically reliable for around three weeks. Norway spruce tend to have a somewhat shorter needle retention period, with 2-3 weeks being standard. Be sure to download and read our Tree Care Tips to get the best life out of your fresh Christmas tree!
A: This question is another with a bit of a “that depends” kind of answer. There is, of course, a variety of scents across the range of species. Spruces tend to have a slightly more pungent scent, while Douglas-fir and Concolor fir have a scent that is almost citrusy. In general the most aromatic trees tend to be true firs (Balsam, Fraser/Canaan, Concolor, Grand, Noble), although there can be a great degree of variability from tree to tree even within any given species. One great irony is that some of the conditions that seem to enhance the smell of a tree are the same ones that decrease its needle retention: a warm, dry room, which causes the needles to transpire more rapidly, drying them out but also releasing more of the scent oils into the air. Some of the true fir species have resin ‘blisters’ along the bark of the trunk which, when popped with a thumbnail, can release a burst of scent. If the smell of the tree is critical, it might be worth picking up a natural fir-oil scent spray to occasionally give your tree a boost if its own natural scent seems to run short. One easy method to help decide what scent you like best is to pull a few needles off of the tree, then break them in half.
A: The short answer to this question is: blue spruce!! Of course, the tradeoff is needles that are equally stiff and therefore can be painful (which may be good to keep pets away from the tree!). Spruces in general tend to have sturdier branches for holding ornaments. Several of the true firs run a close second: Fraser/Canaan fir, Balsam fir, Nordmann, and Noble fir can be good for all but the heaviest of ornaments. On the other extreme, Douglas-fir, pines, and Grand fir tend to have softer branches that will sag under the weight of heavier ornaments.
A: There are several possible tests to gauge the freshness of a pre-cut tree. It is important to recognize that how long a tree has been cut is not the only determining factor in how ‘fresh’ and healthy a cut tree may be. Certainly a tree that has been cut for many weeks and shipped thousands of miles would have undergone much more stress than a tree cut within a week or two and kept out in the cold and rain. The simplest way to get a rough sense of a tree’s ‘freshness’ is to take a branch tip and bend it over on itself. If the branch bends without snapping, it is a good sign that the tree is fresh. (Of course, keep in mind that spruces in particular tend to have stiffer, woodier branches that could break even on a live tree in the field. But even in these cases, the break would not feel brittle.) In a similar fashion, reaching partway up a branch, and lightly gripping the branch and pulling out toward the tip can give a sense of whether the needles are brittle and dry. While a few loose needles could still come off even on a fresh tree, most needles should bend under the hand and spring back. A final rough test can come from lifting the tree. If a tree feels unnaturally light for its size, then it may be that much of the water has already been transpired out of the tree. This is not a failsafe test, because the diameter of the trunk can make a dry tree feel heavier (in the case of a thick trunk) or a fresh tree feel lighter (in the case of a narrow trunk). But the weight can be a rough guide.
If a tree has brown needles or is dropping needles in the tree’s interior, that does not necessarily mean a tree is not fresh or is unhealthy. The further one goes from the tip of the branches, the more years the needles have been on the tree. And since those interior needles are shaded from sunlight by the more exterior needles, they no longer serve their purpose as effectively. Some species (white pines, e.g.) shed these older, interior needles regularly. Others might drop these needles in a harsher summer, even if the rest of the tree is entirely healthy. If a tree has interior needle shedding that is an issue, putting the tree on a shaker (available at our retail lot) is usually effective in removing most of the these needles so they won’t fall out on your floor.
A: In our fields, the largest trees available for U-Cutting in 2012 are approximately 8-10 feet tall. There may be a hand full of larger trees, primarily at the Dey Road U-Cut lot. Trees that reach the upper end of that range tend to have been cut out the field before they get any larger. A revision of our pricing structure into size tiers, combined with having increased planting over the past several years will hopefully lead to more large trees in the fields in future years. But for the time being we seem to have something of a limit to how large our trees grow before they are cut.
In our fresh-cut retail lot, however, we have ordered Fraser Fir’s that should be up to about 14 feet in height. These trees are brought in from a farm we work directly with in North Carolina with whom we have had a relationship with for 5 years to ensure that the trees are cut as late as possible for maximum freshness. Increased demand for the very large trees in recent years has made their availability more limited, and the prices rise, particularly for the tallest of trees. We do our best to secure our tall trees from farms where we can both be sure of the quality and freshness, and also offer the most reasonable prices. For exceptionally tall trees, we would need to make special orders in the late summer. We do accept early reservations on such trees, with a 50% deposit to guarantee the tree.
A. Yes, dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.
A. On the weekends of Nov. 24, 25; Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16 we will have kids crafts, Santa visits, a haybale maze, and hay rides in our “North Pole” tent at the Cranbury Neck Road U-Cut lot.
Additionally we will be hosting a Candy Cane hunt on Saturday Dec. 1 at 11am at the Cranbury Neck Road U-Cut.
And finally, we will have free hot chocolate and coffee at our retail lot.
A. We suggest measuring the location in your home where your Christmas tree will be located, both width, and height of the ceilings. Trees always look smaller in the field than they really are. We also suggest bringing a tape measure to the field to ensure your tree is the size that you want/need.
Q. How do I get to your farm?
A. From Exit 8A of the NJ Turnpike- Bear right out of the tolls toward Rte. 535. At traffic light, turn left onto Rte. 535 S. Follow to third traffic light, and turn right onto Rte. 614 (Dey Rd.) West. Straight on 614 W 1.9 miles to U-Cut field or 3 miles to retail lot.
From Rte. 1- Take Scudders Mill Rd. to the 5th traffic light. Turn left onto Dey Rd. The retail lot is just past the next light (about 3 miles) on the right. The U-Cut lot is another mile past the retail lot on the right.
Address of Retail Lot: 118 Dey Rd Cranbury, NJ 08512
Address of Dey Road U-Cut: 260 Dey Rd Cranbury, NJ 08512
Address of Cranbury Neck Rd U-Cut: 120 Cranbury Neck Road Cranbury, NJ 08512