How to pick the perfect Christmas tree as lots open in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — Thanksgiving is almost here, which means many families will be headed to local lots to pick out Christmas trees.

Before you head to a Christmas tree lot near you, be warned that prices could be higher this year. FOX 5’s Heather Lake talked with Kimmi Alvarado, assistant manager at Armstrong Gardens in Encinitas, about varieties available at their lot, where a 6- to 7-foot tree will cost roughly $150.

Alvarado said costs are higher because of several factors.

“There were some forest fires, which precluded some of the trees from coming on site. Some of the moisture, the drought, it really takes a toll on the trees,” she said.

Armstrong Gardens locations are closed on Thanksgiving, but ready for crowds on Friday. When it comes to which varietal to choose, Alvarado said anyone with allergies should turn to Nordmann fir Christmas trees since they don’t have pollen.

“People that have allergies are very, very happy with those trees in their house,” Alvarado said. “They have longer needles, they’re green. They are a very healthy and hearty tree.”

For anyone with heavy ornaments and decorations, Alvarado said Noble firs and Alpine Nobles are the way to go. They have more distance between branches, so they’ll show off your ornaments without too much crowding.

Once you know your preferred variety, you’ll want to make sure the tree is healthy and will last.

“Touch the branches and kind of lightly tug on them to see if any needles fall off. Some of them have debris from trees that were on top of them in the truck. That’s not the debris from that actual tree,” Alvarado said. “We also cut them and stand them as soon as we get them on site, so they’ve been in water the whole time they’ve been cut.”

Armstrong Gardens is also offering Christmas décor kits, which come with two six-inch poinsettias, 20 feet of fresh garland and a 20-inch live wreath, plus a $25 discount on your tree.

Once you make your selection and haul it home, use warm water with a Christmas tree preservative to keep it looking and smelling great. Bottles of the preservative are available at the store, and Alvarado said you can cut off a small section of the tree trunk once you get home if you like, as an added step.

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