Is demand for the live Christmas tree dead?
Not on your life.
Consumers still pine for trees grown in the ground versus their manufactured counterparts.
In 2012, 24.5 million live trees were sold, compared to 10.9 million artificial trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
However, another needling association statistic shows 83 percent of American homes had artificial trees. The difference? Artificial trees don’t have to be replaced every season.
Another selling point for artificial trees is most of them now come pre-lighted, said Dan Zippie, manager of Kraynak’s in Hermitage which sells both live and artificial trees. And, what’s more he added, artificial trees have become much more realistic looking.
Still, there is a hard-core following of those who demand live trees. But that demand has undergone some trimming here and there when it comes to desires.
Over the last 40 years, Americans’ tastes in live trees have changed sharply. Back in the 1960s and ’70s Scotch pine was king of the forest. These days it’s the Frasier fir that rules, along with other close relatives in the fir family.
“The popularity of the Frazier fir has really skyrocketed,’’ said Tom Swanson, co-manager of Kraynak’s Lawn and Garden Center, where the live trees are sold.
Looks also play a factor, said Tom Kavanagh, co-owner of Cottage Gardens in Hermitage, which sells live trees. Scotch pines often have a wilder look with their main trunk zig-zagging in all directions.
“Firs have a more central leader that grows straighter,’’ Kavanagh said. “Their needles also are softer than a Scotch pine which makes them easier to decorate.’’
A common factor in both live and artificial trees is that the most popular are those in the 7è-foot range – just under the typical 8-foot height of most home ceilings.
One trend that’s gone steadily by the wayside for many homes is having just a single tree. These days it’s common for homes to resemble the deep woods with multiple trees scattered throughout the living quarters.
“I waited on a guy who bought five live trees for his home,’’ Swanson said.
Perhaps the biggest change for Christmas trees – both live and artificial – is the decorating. Just a couple generations ago, the tree typically didn’t get indoors until maybe two weeks before Christmas.
“That’s all gone now,’’ Kavanagh said. “Now trees are put up a couple days after Thanksgiving, if not sooner.’’
In Kavanagh’s case, he put his live tree up before Thanksgiving. Feeding it a steady supply of water is crucial.
“My tree is still drinking up the water and it has all of its needles,’’ he said.
Selling live Christmas trees since the mid-’70s, Kavanagh said tradition is a huge factor in live tree sales.
“We see the same people year after year,’’ he said.
It’s quite common for entire families to come out when picking a tree, Kavanagh said, adding he likes listening to the decision-making process.
“It’s not just the adults who decide,’’ he said. “They actually ask the kids a lot about the choice.’’
Some still pine for fragrant fir
Is demand for the live Christmas tree dead?
- Local News
Doss: Public has right to know
A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.
Budget falling short despite tax hike
Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.
Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.
Police: Kids in car were OK
The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.
To talk – or not – about police
The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.
Community thanks its first-responders
Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.
Drilling boom challenges state inspectors
The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.
A span of time
Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.
Intruder hurts woman, takes $5
A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.
March against crime set for Aug. 5
At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.
Farrell topped out at 819.
History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.
Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years
Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.
News briefs from July 26, 2014
Man faces bomb threat charges
June building tops $4 million in Hermitage
Elderly man survives plane crash
An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.
Man arrested for April gunfight
Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.
- More Local News Headlines
- Doss: Public has right to know