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Cut your own Christmas tree, but beware of drying it out early
Drought, earlier start to season can lead to problems without proper care
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Dick Mecham of Gainesville hauls his family’s Christmas tree to be taken to his car Saturday at the Kinsey Family Farm in Gainesville. The weekend after Thanksgiving is when the Kinsey Family Farm sees a large influx of customers as families prepare their houses for the holiday season. - photo by Erin O. Smith

There are countless different reasons to pick a certain type of Christmas tree. Any family who has bought a tree knows the struggle and weighing of options that goes into picking the perfect yuletide decoration.

For some, like the Buquoi family of Hall County, it’s the perfect smell of a Carolina sapphire that makes an excellent tree. Or to others like Tejeda family of Duluth, size, shape and uniformity is what counts.

But for even more, picking a tree to grace the home is just a sideline to the tradition and sense of family that surrounds decorating for the holidays.

And what could be more traditional and family oriented than an annual outing to cut your own Christmas tree? For Andy Kinsey of the Kinsey Family Farms in Gainesville, nothing can beat a good fresh Christmas tree.

“We really try and present the whole farm as a family experience, so people can start that Christmas tradition,” said Kinsey. “Picking a tree is a very major part of people’s Christmas, and that’s what we are here for.”

Kinsey Farms have offered choose-and-cut trees for 12 years. Over the years, Kinsey says he has seen the date people start buying trees move nearer to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a trend that worries him slightly.

“It used to be that the busiest time was the first week of December; now its Black Friday. But as you can see, people want their tree now,” he said, indicating the long lines of people picking trees from pre-cut stands Saturday.

He said cutting a tree from its roots this early in the season can lead to it drying up faster. Coupled with the already drought conditions in North Georgia, the risk of a dry tree is greater.

“My personal philosophy on this is to wait until December to buy your tree, but people want what they want,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey Farms offers a flyer with each tree sold with tips on keeping the tree hydrated and alive for as long as possible. Some suggestions include:

Pick a tree from a quality farm or lot with trees that are well watered and shaded to ensure optimal tree health.

When the tree is brought into the home, make sure its base remains submerged in water, preventing its sap from hardening at the base and blocking future waterings.

Close all heating vents surrounding the tree, and limit its exposure to direct sunlight.

For more information on The Kinsey Family Farms and Christmas tree care, visit