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A Christmas Tree Primer

December 04, 1987|Clipboard researched by Nancy Reed / Los Angeles Times

The countdown to Christmas has begun, and its signpost is the Christmas tree.

Several small, commercial tree farms in Orange County lure local shoppers who arrive on bicycles, in pickup trucks and Porsches to select a tree. Many shoppers opt for the common Monterey pine, which grows well in Southern California's sandy soil.

All area farms grow the bushy Monterey pine, which takes three to six

years to mature and is pruned as it grows to ensure the familiar triangular shape. Some consumers prefer the freshness of a tree-farm pine, which stays green longer.

Christmas tree shoppers usually consume the available tree supply each year. This year local tree farms have benefited from an unseasonably wet fall, so there are plenty of trees to choose from.

Because the selling season is so short, most farms close at sunset. Many allow buyers to reserve a tree of

their choice in early December.The trees can then be cut down and picked up before Christmas.

Freshly cut trees are slower to dry out and can last several weeks with proper watering. But if you want to bring a tree to the office or put one up for a holiday bash in the condo complex party room, the tree must first be treated with a flame retardant chemical.

The state fire code requires that all Christmas trees and decorations placed in a public assembly area that holds 50 or more people be treated with a fire retardant chemical. Specific buildings and institutions included--regardless of assembly size--are: day care and adult care centers, nursing homes, educational facilities, churches, hotels, hospitals, theaters, restaurants, bars and common areas of apartment complexes.

Fire officials say that a dry Christmas tree can be consumed by fire in three seconds. Most tree farms offer fire retardant spray at an extra cost.

CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS IN ORANGE COUNTY

Bailey-Findley Christmas Tree Farms

3rd and Chestnut streets

Yorba Linda

(714) 970-0694

This year the five-acre farm offers 3- to 5-year-old trees. It is open now and closes noon the day before Christmas. Hours are 8 a.m. to sundown weekends; noon to dusk Monday-Friday. The trees are two to five feet tall, 3 to 5 years old and sell for $4.50 a foot. Fire retardant spray is $2 a foot. Flocking is $1.50 a foot for a light coat, $2 for medium and $2.50 for a heavy coat.

Lyons Tretyme Christmas Tree Forest

8625 Slater Ave. between Magnolia and Newland streets

Fountain Valley

3- to 5-year-old trees from five to eight feet tall are available.

7462 McFadden Ave. at Gothard Street

Huntington Beach

3- to 5-year-old trees from five to eight feet tall are available.

7500 Garden Grove Blvd. at Hoover Street

Westminster

3- to 6-year-old trees from five to 10 feet tall are available.

The three four-acre farms are open now and will close when all trees are sold--usually the Sunday before Christmas. Unlike other area "choose and cut" tree farms, the trees at Lyons farms cannot be reserved. The pines must be selected and cut on the same day. Hours at the three farms are noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Trees are sold for $6 a foot, and fire retarding spray and flocking--available at the Westminster farm only--is $3 a foot.

Olde Tyme Christmas Tree Farm

1515 N. Main St. at Katella Avenue

Orange

(714) 974-6244

The farm is open and will close at dusk on Dec. 22. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to dusk on weekdays and 9 a.m. to sundown on weekends. Olde Tyme offers 3- to 4-year-old trees that are two to 13 feet tall. Cost is $4 to $5 per foot. Fire retarding spray is $2.50 a foot.

Peltzer Pines Tree Farm

7596 Chapman Ave., between Beach Boulevard and Western Avenue

Garden Grove

(714) 897-6161

1545 N. Batavia St., between Katella and Taft avenues

Orange

(714) 637-5555

9801 S. Irvine Center Drive at Lake Forest Drive

Irvine

(714) 380-7647

These three farms are open and will close Dec. 22. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Four-year-old trees are available at six to 12 feet and range in price from $4 to $6.50 a foot. Fire retarding spray is $2 per foot.

Santa's Forest Christmas Tree Farm, Yorba Linda

4501 Eureka Ave. at Imperial Highway

(714) 993-3542

This farm will open Dec. 5 and close Dec. 24. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. They have five- to seven-foot trees selling for $5 a foot. Fire retardant is $2.50 per foot and flocking is $2 to $3 a foot, depending on a choice of a light, medium or heavy flocking. Most of the trees are reserved by opening day, so freshly cut trees from Corona will be brought in to augment the supply of planted trees.

Santa's Forest Christmas Tree Farm

1620 S. Anaheim Blvd.

Anaheim

(714) 776-8213

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