February 3, 2023

BELVIDERE – Now that it’s December, it’s time to buy or consider buying a fresh, live Christmas tree on a farm in New Jersey.

The harvest is looking good this year, said Tim Dunne, owner of Woodsedge Tree Farm in Belvidere and vice president of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association.

He said farmers were concerned about the little to no rain the state experienced in July and August, but only young trees and seedlings were affected; some were lost. He said that the seedlings will be replanted in the spring.

But the mature trees being cut down for Christmas look great, Dunne said.

Which tree should I cut down?

The firs are the most popular, Dunne said. These include Fraser, Canaan and Concolor. Douglas fir is still popular, but that’s on the decline.

Many like spruces such as Norway spruce and blue spruce. Others like pines like white pine and scotch pine.

According to Dunne, the firs are popular for hanging heavy ornaments because of their strong fragrance, great needle strength, bright, beautiful green color, and stiff branches.
The firs tick all the boxes, he said.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

How much does a real Christmas tree cost this year?

The average cost of a tree this year is $10-$20 per foot.

“That’s a big range, but there are a lot of variables depending on where you are in New Jersey,” Dunne said. “The further away you are from the urban areas, the more the prices go up a bit. Dunne’s farm is out in western New Jersey, so the prices are a little lower.”

“Our prices are up about 7% this year,” he said.

Dunne said the main expenses on his farm are fertilizer and fuel. The fuel is used for mowing and powering tractors.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

How do you keep a real Christmas tree alive for a long time?

“Fresh tree. Fresh cut. Fresh water,” Dunne said.

Be sure to come to a designated farm and freshly cut the tree, he said. A tree bought from a large department store or grocery store was probably felled in early November, so it’s not a fresh tree.

If your tree doesn’t come up right away, make a fresh cut. Dunne said to cut about half an inch from the base of the tree.

“What happened when the tree is cut down in the field, the sap seals the end of the tree and doesn’t let it absorb any more water,” Dunne said.

Once the cuts are made, keep the tree in fresh water. Have a stand that will hold a gallon of water. Make sure the stall is filled with fresh water daily. Don’t let it dry out, he said.

“If you follow these steps, fresh tree, fresh cut, fresh water, you will have a beautiful tree by the New Year,” he added.

When is it time to throw out the tree?

If the tree starts dropping a lot of needles, or if you brush it and the needles fall, it’s time to get rid of it, Dunne said.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo: Tim Dunne)

Is there a tree shortage?

Dunne wants to make it clear that despite the news of a tree shortage, there isn’t one, at least not on his farm, which has been in existence for 35 years.

Well, people might not get the exact tree size they want or the type they want, but Dunne said most farms in the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association have lots of trees.

Dunne’s Farm is one of the smaller Christmas tree farms in the state. He has six acres and 6,000 trees on his farm. He hopes to sell between 500 and 600 fresh Christmas trees each season.

Dunne encourages people to go to a tree farm in New Jersey and shop early, and he promises there will be a tree for everyone.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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These are the best hiking areas in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible hiking trails, waterfalls and lakes.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, there are many options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outside and enjoy nature, and it’s also a great workout.

Before you hit the trails and explore some of our listeners’ suggestions, I have some hiking etiquette tips from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and meet an uphill hiker, step aside and give the uphill hiker room. A hiker going uphill has the right-of-way unless stopping to catch his breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side trails unless they are marked as an official trail, stay away from them. If you leave the trail, you can harm the ecosystems surrounding the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.

You also don’t want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and keep hiking.

Cyclists should give way to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give way to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey’s trails.

If you decide to take your dog with you on your hike, be sure to keep them on a leash and ensure all pet waste is removed.

Finally, keep the weather in mind, if the trail is too muddy it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions for the best hiking areas in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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