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

November 30, 2009

Commissioner: Buy A New York Grown Christmas Tree

Real Trees Provide Countless Benefits for Families and Local Communities

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today encouraged consumers to buy a real, New York grown Christmas tree this holiday season. The Commissioner visited Moore Tree Farm in Groton (Tompkins County), owned by the president of the National Christmas Tree Association, where he cut a real, New York grown Christmas tree that will be displayed in the lobby of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets office building in Albany.

“Real Christmas trees are the scent of the season, and they don’t get any fresher than when you cut one yourself at one of our many tree farms in New York State,” the Commissioner said. “The fresher the tree was cut, the better it smells and the longer it lasts. Make selecting a real New York Christmas tree a family tradition. You’ll help support the local economy and will be investing in a truly recyclable product that will add a fresh aroma and good will to your holidays.

Bob Norris, Executive Director for the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, said, “Christmas trees are ready to be harvested at farms throughout New York State. Most farms offer an assortment of trees, as well as additional services and handcrafted wreaths and holiday décor. Please be sure to support your local Christmas tree grower this year by harvesting a real, fresh cut Christmas tree and enjoy the fragrance and beauty they offer throughout the season.”

New York Christmas tree farms offer a wide variety of real Christmas trees. Fraser Firs and Balsam Firs are the most popular 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 can 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.

  1. Trees 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.

Christmas trees provide numerous environmental and economic benefits. Christmas tree farms use land that might otherwise be developed as its soil is not often suited for typical agricultural crops. They help stabilize soil and protect local water supplies. They also absorb carbon dioxide and other gases. One acre of Christmas trees emits enough oxygen for 18 people.

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.

Christmas trees also help 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. By purchasing a locally grown Christmas tree, there is little chance of introducing new pests to the area or spreading pests from one area to another.

Christmas trees are also considered 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.

According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, New York ranks seventh nationally for Christmas tree production with approximately 1,000 Christmas tree growers, utilizing more than 20,000 acres across the State and harvesting nearly 350,000 trees annually.

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 your area.

Photographs of this event are available upon request via email at

2009 Press Releases