Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

December 03, 2007

Commissioner Urges Consumers to Buy New York Christmas Trees

Real Trees Provide Countless Benefits for Families and Communities

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today encouraged consumers to select a real, New York grown Christmas tree to help celebrate the holiday season this year.

"The benefits of having a real Christmas tree for the holidays are countless," the Commissioner said. "Its mere presence and aroma alone are worth it, but the best reasons for selecting a real Christmas include the fact that it’s an all-American, recyclable resource that is environmentally sound and an economic engine for the local community in which it’s grown. So with Christmas right around the corner, I encourage you to visit a local tree farm with your family and select a real Christmas tree that will provide a true sense of tradition, hope and good will."

Commissioner Hooker joined representatives from the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York at Massoud’s Tree Farm in Sauquoit (Oneida County) to promote and harvest a real New York grown Christmas trees for the holiday season.

Christmas trees provide numerous environmental and economic benefits. Christmas trees farms maintain agricultural practices on that land might otherwise be developed, and on soil that is not often suited for typical agricultural crops. They also help stabilize soil and protect local water supplies. They absorb carbon dioxide and other gases with one acre of Christmas trees emitting enough fresh oxygen for 18 people.

From an invasive species standpoint, real New York Christmas trees are an excellent way to prevent the introduction of invasive plant pests. New York trees take 7 to 10 years to grow and must be maintained in excellent health because they must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Trees grown under such conditions are naturally resistant to insects and diseases, and because real trees are grown here in New York, there is little chance of spreading pests from one area to another.

Christmas trees are also a renewable resource as they are typically chipped and recycled as mulch after the season. They may also be placed outside following the holiday season and used as shelter for small birds and mammals, and later chipped and recycled in the spring.

Economically, Christmas trees provide an additional income for farmers and rural landowners. They also create seasonal jobs and serve as an economic stimulus for local communities, offering not only trees, but wreaths and a tourism opportunity.

New York Christmas tree farms offer a wide variety of real Christmas trees. Fraser Firs and Balsam Firs are the most popular Christmas tree varieties in New York State, while White and Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, and other firs, such as Canaan, Douglas, Concolour and others, are available as well. Many local Christmas tree farms also offer fresh roping, swags and wreaths along with handmade crafts for Christmas.

Locally grown and harvested trees, when watered properly, can remain fresh in your home well past New Year’s Day. To be sure that your Christmas tree was grown in New York, consumers should look for the ‘Pride of New York’ emblem. The Pride of New York emblem signifies products that are grown or made in New York State. Follow these guidelines to keep your real Christmas tree fresh throughout the holiday season:

1. After you bring the tree home, cut one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk. Keep the tree outdoors in a container of water and protect it from the wind and sun until you’re ready to decorate. This helps the tree retain moisture.

2. Before you bring the tree into your home, make another fresh cut a minimum of one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk. This reopens the tree stem so it can take water immediately. Place it in a stand with fresh water. Do not allow the water level to drop below the fresh cut or the stem will reseal.

3. Remember, trees are very thirsty and may drink from 2 pints to 1 gallon of water a day. Use a stand with 1-gallon capacity or more. Keep your tree away from drying heat sources such as sunny windows, hot air ducts and fireplaces. Check the water level daily and supply fresh water as needed.

Bob Norris, Executive Director for the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, said, "It has become quite an annual tradition for families to visit their local Christmas tree farm, select the family tree and harvest that tree for the holidays. New York has nearly 1,000 Christmas tree farms that offer families the opportunity to harvest their own, many of which are not more than an hour’s drive away. Please take time this holiday season to harvest your own New York Christmas trees and enjoy the fragrance and beauty they offer."

According to the 2002 U.S. Census of Agriculture, New York ranks nationally in the top five for Christmas tree production with approximately 1,000 Christmas tree growers, utilizing 32,600 acres across the State.

To find a Christmas tree farm in your area, visit the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets website at or the Pride of New York website at On both of these websites, you’ll be able to search a region or county for all the local Christmas tree farms in the area, including cut-your-own operations, with directions, hours of operation, contact information and a brief description of the farm.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Photos from today’s event with Commissioner Hooker harvesting a real Christmas tree will be available upon request by emailing Jessica Chittenden at

2007 Press Releases