(12/02/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters is having their annual Christmas tree sale. The trees are being sold outside of the Renewable Natural Resources Building on the LSU campus, and the sale will continue until all trees are sold.
Approximately 50 Carolina Sapphire cypress trees were harvested for the sale this year. Carolina Sapphire cypress trees are best known for their rich blue-silver color and strong lemon-and-mint aroma.
The trees are harvested each year from Lee Memorial Forest in Washington Parish. The forest is a vital research and teaching resource for the School of Renewable Natural Resources.
The 1,500 acres that comprise the Lee Memorial Forest include four acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees. Leyland cypress and Carolina Sapphire cypress are the most common tree varieties grown.
These varieties were selected because they acclimate well to growing in Louisiana. Leyland cypress is popular because it is less likely to shed its needles. Due to insects and diseases, many other tree varieties are not viable in Louisiana.
Christmas trees typically grow at a rate of 1 foot per year. A 6-foot tree likely took six years to reach that height.
Cornelis “Niels” de Hoop, associate professor in the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center at the LSU AgCenter, offered the following tips for selecting and maintaining a Christmas tree:
— Select a tree based on freshness. Freshness is checked by inspecting the dryness of the branches. Also, check for any large dead spots around the tree that cannot be concealed.
— Look at the base. Ensure the base is long enough to be held up by a tree stand and is not too wide to fit in the stand.
— Look for a tree that is straight. Keep in mind where the tree will be placed and avoid one that is too wide or too tall.
— Place the tree in a bucket of water as soon as possible. If possible, cut off 1 inch of the tree’s base. This will improve water uptake as sap tends to congregate at the bottom of the tree.
— Do not let the tree stand go dry. Once the tree runs out of water, it will likely quit taking up water completely.
— Watch for water uptake. Once a tree stops up taking water, it has likely died and will begin to dry out.
“There are several ways that you can dispose of a tree,” de Hoop said. “A lot of times, fishermen will collect the Christmas trees and repurpose them as fish habitats in ponds or lakes.”
Before repurposing or disposing of a tree, be sure to remove all lights and decorations.
The annual Christmas Tree Sale is a long-standing tradition on the LSU campus. Money raised from the event helps pay for students’ national membership dues with the Society of American Foresters and funds club gatherings throughout the year.
Christmas tree sale sign. Photo by Annabelle Stokes/LSU AgCenter
Ty Price, member of the LSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, stands with one of Carolina Sapphire cypress trees being sold in the annual Christmas tree sale. Photo by Annabelle Stokes/LSU AgCenter