For James Klinger, the drive from his new home in Plymouth Meeting to Tyler's Tree is worth the drive to Tyler's Tree World, located across York Road from Archbishop Wood in Warminster.
"I've been coming here for 10 years," said Klinger, who recently moved from Horsham to Plymouth Meeting. "The trees here are always consistently nice, and they carry nobles."
Klinger and his girlfriend tried going the fake tree route last year, but the idea didn't stick.
"We got one of those white trees, with the white lights," said Klinger. "The day after Christmas, my girlfriend said she wanted to go back to the real thing. We missed the smell of the real trees. It reminds me of my grandparents' house."
Even though several tree vendors pop up around the area each year, the biggest competition that the owners grapple with is the fake tree industry.
"A lot of that has to do with the economy," said Daniel Dauenbaugh, who helped Klinger tie down a Noble tree to the roof of his car. "The past three years, our sales have been down because people can't afford to buy one every year. Actually, so far this year, we've been doing very well."
Tyler's Tree World started selling their selections to the early birds the day after Thanksgiving. Dauenbaugh says that with the proper feeding and watering, the trees will last through the holidays.
Owner Tyler Keyser gets his shipments from a few sources. A farm in North Carolina delivers frasers, and they have just started using a tree farm outside Gettysburg for the douglas firs.
"We've been really happy with the new supplier," said Dauenbaugh. "The trees are much thicker and fuller. Not a lot of those bald spots that you have to turn against the wall."
Business is expected to pick up dramatically as Christmas draws near. Tyler's Tree World has been operating out of the shopping center parking lot since 1996, and Dauenbach sees a good mix of new and returning customers.
"We are very picky with our trees," he said. "We only carry trees that receive a top rating from the Department of Agriculture. It's a little pricier, but worth it."
There are plenty of other places in Warminster to pick out this year's Christmas tree, including:
- Uncle Joe Dautcher's Farm Market, 1270 Mearns Rd., Warminster
- JP Christmas Trees, Warminster Square Shopping Center, 1499 Street Rd., Warminster
- The corner of Newtown and Street roads, across from Craven Hall in Warminster
- Home Depot and Lowes in Warrington
With so many options, picking out a Christmas tree can sometimes make you feel like you're in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Any given tree can either be too short, too tall, too bald, too bushy or have a myriad of other problems.
So how can you tell which tree is the right one for you? To help select your favorite tree, the characteristics of the more popular species are listed below.
Douglas-fir: This tree is generally available as a sheared tree and is the most common species found on tree lots.
It has a nice fragrance and a medium-to-good shelf life. Because of the thick, bushy crowns, they do not lend themselves to large or heavy decorations.
This species is the easiest to grow because it is relatively problem-free. It requires seven to eight years to mature as a Christmas tree.
Noble fir: This species is considered the “Cadillac” of Christmas trees. It grows in a more open pattern, has stout branches, luxurious green needles, a long shelf life and a nice fragrance. It is popular with families that have large or heavy ornaments.
It is the most expensive tree because it takes eight to ten years to mature and is the most difficult species to grow.
Grand fir: This sheared tree is the most fragrant of the native species. It has an attractive needle that makes it a popular choice as a flocked tree.
Grand fir trees require eight to nine years to grow and have a medium shelf life.
Fraser fir: This North Carolina native has strong branches that will hold heavier ornaments. The needles have a pleasant fragrance and a long shelf life comparable to a noble fir.
Fraser fir trees are difficult to grow because of the many pests that threaten them. They require eight to 10 years before they are ready for harvest.
Norway and blue spruce trees: These are generally available only at choose-and-cut farms. They will hold heavy decorations. Some consumers think they are child- and pet-proof because of the stiff, prickly needles.
Spruces require eight to nine years to mature as Christmas trees and have a medium shelf life.
Tips for caring for your tree:
Once you make it home with your tree, cut one-quarter inch off the butt and place the tree in a water stand. The stand should be large enough to hold at least one gallon of water after the tree is placed in it. Check the water level daily. A typical six-foot tall tree can drink one gallon of water each day and remain fresh for two to three weeks.
TELL US: Where did you buy or cut your Christmas tree in Warminster? What kind is it? Share in the comments below.