CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Agriculture is encouraging people to buy their Christmas trees from West Virginia farmers this holiday season.

“That keeps money within the local community,” said Crescent Gallagher, communications director with the DOA. “Up to 85 percent of those monies you just spent on that Christmas tree are going to stay within that community versus a fake Christmas tree bought at a department store. Most of the money is going to leave the state of West Virginia.”

Some of the best kinds of trees to look for are Douglas Firs and Fraser Firs. The most popular trees people buy in the state are Scotch Pines and White Pines.

Gallagher said firs cost around $100-150 compared to pines that can be purchased for around $40-50.

“The pines are the looser needles where the firs are less likely to lose the needles, so if you don’t want to do the clean up, I’d recommend getting a fir, which is a little more expensive,” he said.

When selecting a tree, Gallagher said it’s important to make sure the tree is alive.

“If a bunch of the needles fall off, your tree that you’re looking at is probably already dead. I wouldn’t recommend that,” he said.

He said people should also make sure the tree has a good pine smell.

Make sure the farmers market does a fresh cut of the tree too, he said.

“If you don’t get that fresh cut, you’re not going to be able to get water into the tree. Once you have the tree up on the base, you need to water it daily, so it doesn’t dry out and create a fire hazard,” Gallagher said.

Overall, going out to buy a real Christmas tree should be an enjoyable family experience, he said. A tree farm guide of nearly 24 state farmer’s markets is available HERE.

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