With Thanksgiving festivities and Black Friday mayhem safely within the rear-view mirror, hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians are making their annual journeys to parking tons and swiftly re-purposed pumpkin patches to select Christmas bushes.
Bringing bushes indoors and adorning them is an odd custom that appears to have begun in Germany across the time of the Protestant Reformation. One fashionable story holds that it started when Martin Luther was struck by the fantastic thing about starlight shining by a forest and tried to recreate the impact at dwelling with candles and an evergreen tree. Regardless of the true origins of the customized, it’s particularly uncommon in sunny Los Angeles, the place pine and fir bushes are moderately tough to come back by—and the place a proper snow hasn’t fallen in many years.
So the place do all these bushes come from? Whereas there are a few places in Southern California the place you’ll discover bushes rising on-site, the overwhelming majority are unsurprisingly imported from outdoors the area.
Almost half of all PNW bushes are offered in California
Washington and Oregon provide the overwhelming majority of California’s Christmas bushes, with 45 p.c of all harvested bushes within the Pacific Northwest ultimately making their technique to the Golden State, in line with the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association (one other 16 p.c find yourself in Mexico).
Loads of states depend on imported bushes
It’s not simply California that depends closely on bushes grown elsewhere. Of the 16 million trees harvested within the U.S. in 2012, greater than 75 p.c have been grown in simply two states: Oregon and North Carolina. As for synthetic bushes? About 80 p.c come from China.
A few of the most sought-after bushes develop within the Sierra Nevada mountains
California isn’t fully devoid of in-state Christmas tree growers. In actual fact, sure kinds of tree could be arduous to search out elsewhere. The hardy silvertip tree, for example, is mostly sourced from excessive up within the Sierra Nevada mountains. Common for its sturdy form—good for supporting an extra of lights and ornaments—the silvertip can be some of the tough bushes to reap.
The bushes solely develop at excessive elevations and normally have to be harvested after the bushes go right into a wintertime interval of dormancy, however earlier than harsh winter climate prevents growers from transporting them to decrease altitudes.
Silvertips additionally develop at a a lot slower tempo than different kinds of fir bushes. In keeping with Christmas tree wholesaler Bishop and Matthews, the bushes normally take about 25 years to achieve a peak of eight toes, although trendy rising strategies have diminished that timeline by a few decade.
Large mall bushes come from Mt. Shasta
A few of the large bushes discovered at buying malls all through Southern California are literally grown in-state. Orange County-based firm Victor’s Customized Christmas Bushes specializes within the supply and setup of such mega-trees, together with these standing tall on the Grove and Americana at Model. Lots of the firm’s bushes are harvested within the space round Mount Shasta in Northern California.
Staff transport the fir bushes, that are typically round 100 toes tall, to malls as far-off as Arizona and Colorado on the again of flatbed vans earlier than ultimately mounting and adorning them (usually with the help of a crane) at their closing locations.
Christmas bushes look the way in which they do as a result of they’re grown that method
While you shut your eyes and picture a Christmas tree, you in all probability consider an evergreen with branches spreading out large towards the bottom and shortening close to the highest, forming a neat conical form. However bushes don’t essentially develop that method if left to their very own units.
Christmas tree growers constantly “culture” bushes as they develop, trimming aspect branches and pruning to make sure branches develop in thick and the bushes develop that signature Christmas tree form.
Getting a fresh-cut tree makes a distinction
It’s at all times a disgrace when, weeks earlier than Christmas, a tree begins raining needles all around the front room flooring. That normally occurs when bushes are minimize lengthy earlier than a purchaser purchases them.
Tina Callas, who owns Tina’s Trees and has been one of many San Fernando Valley’s largest tree suppliers for 40 years, tells Curbed she orders a brand new batch of bushes each three or 4 days to ensure they keep contemporary. “The trees we’ll sell next week are still in the ground,” she says.
Shawn Wilk, proprietor of Shawn’s Christmas Trees in Palms, says patrons ought to pull on the branches of a tree earlier than buying to ensure needles aren’t coming off. He additionally suggests reaching contained in the branches to the trunk to ensure it’s not dry.
“That’s a pretty good start,” he says.
For some bushes, there’s life after Christmas
Based in 2008, the Living Christmas Company delivers stay bushes to houses throughout Southern California every vacation season. Quite than shopping for a tree that’s already been minimize down, prospects lease potted bushes that may ultimately be replanted after the ornaments come off.