Christmas tree picking tips

November 26, 2008 5:25:17 PM PST
Many Houstonians make it a tradition to put up a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.But before you go shopping for a real live tree, there are a few things to consider.

What kind, how tall, how wide and of course how much? We went shopping around to see how much tree we can get for our money as we help you stretch your dollar.

Since 1843, Teas Nursery has prided itself as a top of the line garden center.

So it's no surprise that John Teas is very picky about what he sells to his customers. Every Christmas tree has been delivered in a refrigerated truck and the nursery only carries premium grade which means every tree on the property is round with no flat sides.

"When the customer pulls out the first tree, looks at it, likes it, goes with it, they don't have to spend a whole lot of time," said Teas.

But premium comes with a price. A seven to eight foot Noble Fir costs a $110.

Over at Houston Garden Centers, every tree less than seven feet tall is $35. In response to the economy, the company decided it had to price their trees to sell quickly.

"We are actually losing a little bit of money on these trees that we are selling for $35 but we thought it was necessary for the public," said Kim Hooper with Houston Garden Centers.

We also stopped at Wal-Mart. The most expensive tree here was $65. The cheapest in stock was the Scotch Pine which is a five to seven footer and is only $20. But despite the price, some aren't thrilled with the quality.

"It's really not worth the money, look at the tree, it's so small the trunk is so small," shopper Cynthia Harris told us.

But wherever you decide to buy your tree, the experts say to check out three things:

- First make sure there isn't a split in the trunk, a split would prevent the tree from getting any water.
- Next, pick up the tree and hit the trunk against the ground. If a bunch of needles fall off go on to the next one.
- And finally check for soft needles. The softer, the fresher and don't forget to water.

So here is the breakdown for a seven foot Fraser Fir. It was the most expensive at Teas Nursery for $74.95, Wal-Mart was second at $45 and Houston Garden Centers has the lowest price at $35.

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