Trees for Troops spreading holiday cheer on Fort Bragg

People encouraged to purchase a real Irish Christmas tree this season

So they chose to stop planting as many trees.

Prices may increase, but only by a small amount.

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This weekend and next are when many Christmas tree sellers expect to see the biggest crowds as the holiday nears.

The drop is coming not only from increasing costs, but also because older tree farmers have been struggling to find someone to keep the operations going, said Shirley Brennan of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Trees for Troops spreading holiday cheer on Fort Bragg

Whether celebrating the holidays with a fresh or precut Christmas tree, he advises area residents to "properly" maintain their conifers throughout the season.

The Trees for Troops program partners with the Christmas Spirit Foundation and FedEx to bring 17,000 trees to 65 military installations across the country each year. Seedlings are replanted each year by tree farmers. The number of hectares devoted to Christmas trees in Canada dropped to 23,787 in 2016 from 28,315 in 2011, while the number of farms fell to 1,872 from 2,381, according to Statistics Canada.

Allegheny Township residents Greg and Robin Feroce have been buying a real tree since they got married 40 years ago.

Summertime, pruning season, can be a challenge when there are droughts; without enough rainfall, numerous newly planted trees won't mature properly, and won't be sold.

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"Our regular supplier in North Carolina ran out of Fraser firs so we had to go elsewhere in North Carolina", Des Marais said. You would simply place the tree, with the concealed pole away from your line of sight.

"It means a lot to a soldier to know that the local communities support what we do", said Lt. Col. Michael Siriani with the National Guard.

"We would recommend having a professional team come in and fit it for you, as for a real tree to be inverted you would need to build a frame - essentially how it works is that you take your real tree and invert it".

"It's just how I grew up", Andy Hendrick said.

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"When you get later into the season and people trying to get that last minute bargain, they're going to have a harder time ― they're just going to have less selection", she said.

"My husband always has to get the Griswold tree", Robin Feroce said.

"(It's) a little bit of recognition for the growers and all they go through to get their product to market after a long cycle", Somerville said.

One customer at Kringle's Korner, Guerneville resident George Pedroni, said it seemed to him he and his husband had paid $15 or $20 less in previous years of the roughly $60 he was being asked to pay this week.

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As for starting a nursery in a dry prairie, as it turns out the irrigated parcel is well-suited for growing trees and next spring the first offering of landscape trees available from the nursery. Christy explained that "the love a real tree campaign encourages consumers to purchase a real tree as opposed to an imported artificial tree".

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