Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press/ Nov 27, 2010 - After trimming the bottom of the tree so it will stay upright in the tree stand, Mike Tavares adds another Christmas tree to those for sale at Tom Sawyer's Tree Farm in the parking lot at Eastgate Town Center.
For the Poteet family of Signal Mountain, and many throughout the area, the weekend after Thanksgiving is a time to pick out a tree to start the holiday season.
"When we put up the tree, it feels more like Christmas," Monique Poteet said.
The Poteets were at Weaver Tree Farms on Signal Mountain Road on Saturday to choose their live tree, but there are tree-sellers all over town.
Why buy a live tree?
"It smells good," 11-year-old daughter Gabriel Poteet answered.
Ron Laqua, of Red Bank, said the smell of a fresh-cut tree reminds him of his Montana home. His grandson, 8-year-old Austin Palmer, chose the family's tree from Weaver Tree Farms.
Austin said when he looks for a tree he inspects the branches, but in the end it boils down to "bigness."
Glenn and Jane Beasley, also of Red Bank, waited to pick their tree until all their children were home from college.
"It's tradition," Jane Beasley said. "Going to pick a real tree is more fun than an artificial one."
Tom Sawyer's Christmas Tree Farm has locations at Hamilton Place mall and Eastgate Town Center.
Mike Tavares of Tom Sawyer's said buyers should measure how high the ceiling is and the area of the spot where the tree will stand before they go shopping.
"You need to know how much space you have," he said.
His co-worker, Kliness Debuty, said to test a tree's freshness by pulling on some of the needles. If they snap easily, the tree has started to dry out. The tree should be watered within two to three hours of purchase, he said.
Kent Hartzog of Weaver Tree Farms said a healthy tree's needles should have a deep green color. He said to check the water level every day to make sure the tree is getting enough moisture. Some trees could require daily water, depending on the individual tree, he said.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, tree buyers polled last year spent an average of $40.92 on a tree.
Prices around Chattanooga appear to start at just over $30, depending on the size.
Hartzog said Weaver recently sold a 14-foot tree for around $300 but said on average the price is around $10 per foot for standard-sized trees.
* Water regularly
* Keep away from heat
* Have a stable base
* If over 11 feet tall, tie it off toward the top
* Don't overload branches