Picking The Perfect Christmas Tree

Picking The Perfect Christmas Tree

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PHILADELPHIA -

In the next couple weeks, many of us will go pick out our Christmas trees. And they're not cheap, so you definitely want to know what you're looking for.

Here to help is FOX 29's Chris Murphy.

With hundreds of different trees to pick from and eight different varieties when you first get to a tree lot, where do you begin?

Walt Rybas has the answer. He has run a lot at the corner of Frankford Avenue and Tolbut Street for decades.

He notices Philadelphians are procrastinators compared to the rest to the country when it comes to buying Christmas trees.

"Our busiest weekend will be two weeks after Thanksgiving," Rybas said.

"As time marches on, does it get cheaper to buy your tree, closer to Christmas Day?" Murphy asked.

"Yeah, Christmas Eve it gets real cheap!" Rybas said.

But by then, with some trees sitting around the lot that long, how do you know if the tree isn't too dry? Rybas says, give it a good rub.

"If they're springing off, then you know it's been toasted or crispy," he said.

He tries to bring in more trees every week, in stages.

"And, also, if you pick the tree up when you're there at the lot, if it's really light, it's pretty dry," he said.

Walt's trees come in from all over. His Fraser Firs came in from North Carolina, and while our FOX 29 crew was there, another truck came in from Oregon, hauling Nordmann Firs, the seeds for which came from Russia.

Walt says never take the bark off the tree because the bark is the only part that can absorb the water in the tree stand.

And if there's a split up the side of the bark, don't worry. It's doesn't mean your tree is dry but just the opposite.

"Sometimes you'll see a crack go right down here," he said. "These trees have so much moisture, especially this year with all of the rain that we've had, they're swelling. And then when they get cut, they start to shrink a little bit."

And size matters. The taller the tree, the more expensive. Murphy reports that, when buying a good tree, plan on spending about $8 a foot.

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