For a month before Christmas, Langley’s tree farms draw families from around the Lower Mainland in search of the perfect holiday fir.
“The big weekend is this next one coming up,” said Al Neufeld of Fernridge Christmas Tree Farms in South Brookswood.
For a month before Dec. 24, the farm and others dotted around Langley will see people buy pre-cut or cut down their own trees, from saplings suitable for a small home to big 10 to 12-foot firs for large entryways and living rooms.
“We get people from Vancouver, we get people from North Vancouver,” Neufeld said.
People don’t just want a tree, especially if they’re from the city, Neufeld said. They will spend time wandering around the farm, checking out the trees, and having a mug of hot chocolate or apple cider.
“It’s more about the experience,” said Neufeld.
Open now for 26 years, Fernridge Christmas Tree Farms has seen some people who first came as young children now return with their own children in search of a tree.
“That’s a great thing to see,” he said.
Neufeld said people are getting more educated about what makes a good tree.
The longtime tree farm owner has a few tips for those who are not in the know.
Fort a long-lasting tree that will survive three weeks to a month without losing all its needles, Fraser and noble firs are the best choices.
“Try to keep your temperatures on the cooler side,” Neufeld said.
In particular, avoid putting your tree next to a heating vent or other source of heat that will dry it out.
Never let the water in the tree stand go below the level of the cut – it will seal up, and the only way to get the water flowing into the tree again is to take it down and saw off an inch or so of the trunk again.
For Douglas and grand firs, which have shorter lifespans indoors, there are additives for their water supply that will help them keep their needles, but Frasers and grands don’t really need any, Neufeld said.
While you can buy a pre-cut at most farms, getting it cut the day you pick the tree up guarantees the freshest and longest-lived tree, he said.