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11/27/17- O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

Now that Thanksgiving is all wrapped up, Christmas is everywhere you look. The yard décor is making its annual appearance and families are loading up to pick out the very best Christmas tree. Thanks to the abundance of Christmas tree farms and plantations, the perfect tree could be a spruce, or it could be a pine, or a fir, or some other species!

Gone are the days when you ventured out into the woods and cut down your own Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Like everything else nowadays, there is a variety to choose from! Christmas trees in North America are usually a member of the Conifer family- they have needles and cones. Luckily, the trees consumers buy for their living rooms have no cones because they have not reached maturity yet. So what could your Christmas tree be? Well…

  1. If the needles are grouped in 2s-5s, then it is a pine. For us southerners, it’s pretty easy to identify a pine, but it may get tricky when they are shaped like a Christmas tree!
  2. If the needles are in 2s, it is either a Scots pine or a Virginia pine. Virginia pines have a more yellowish tinge than a Scots pine
  3. If the needles are in 5s, it is a White pine.

*It will be interesting to see how many pines are available as Christmas trees this year due to last year’s drought and beetle invasion!

  1. Spruce- the most popular choice for Christmas trees! In my opinion, this is the traditional Christmas tree. The needles are short and cover the whole branch; they almost appear square.
  2. Colorado blue spruce and white spruce appear to have a bluish-green tinge. The Colorado blue spruce has needles with a sharp tip, while the white spruce has needles with a blunt tip.
  3. Norway spruce (the traditional Christmas tree) has dark green needles that appear to slightly droop
  4. There are numerous choices of Firs to choose from, so I not go into detail but here are a few: Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Balsam fir, and Grand fir. Most firs seem to have longer needles which make for a “softer” appearance.

Christmas trees are not limited to these species listed above! Some people choose Cypresses or Cedars as well. Whatever Christmas tree you choose, make sure it is a sturdy one! Also, please remember to keep your tree well-watered as many trees are still recovering from last year’s drought and may be very dry and brittle. Happy tree picking!!

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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