Black Friday has Christmas shoppers driving in and out of the University Mall in South Burlington. But just across the way, a little piece of Vermont is also getting ready for the Christmas holiday.
"Without them, there'd be no us," said Andy Moffatt of Moffatt's Christmas Tree Retails.
Them-- meaning Christmas trees. Moffatt sells his trees out of a trailer on a small stretch of land in South Burlington. It's safe to say he knows a thing or two about selling trees.
Reporter Melissa Sheketoff: Andy, how long have you been selling trees?
Andy Moffatt: This will be our 50th year!
Moffatt says most trees sell for $5 to $40. But if you're looking for the 14-footers, those will cost you $60-$75.
With a healthy inventory of 500 trees, Moffatt says there's no need to rush into buying.
"They start buying them in my opinion too early," he said. "A Christmas tree is actually only designed to last about four weeks," Moffatt said.
South Burlington Deputy Fire Chief Terry Francis agrees and says buying a tree too early could become a fire hazard.
"Christmas trees account for about 250 deaths a year in the country," Francis said.
Francis says there are numerous factors in determining how long your tree should stay in your home. The easiest test is just grabbing a branch and pulling to see if needles come off. If they do come off, your tree has to go.
"When trees are dry because they're not properly hydrated they take less than a minute to burn in your house, and when that happens, it happens with deadly consequences," Francis said.
The most important tip to follow with managing a tree-- hydration. Be sure to put water in the base of the tree when needed.
"Really in Vermont we haven't had too many fires, but when we have it's because the tree has been in the house seven weeks and hasn't been watered," Francis said.
A few other tips include buying local trees. They are the freshest and last up to four weeks with proper hydration. Keep the tree away from fireplaces and open flames. And check lighting every year to avoid sparks and frayed wire.
"Take your time, be careful, don't be impaired when you do this, and just take your time and be safe," Francis advised.
"A Christmas tree is one thing that most people like to have in their house for Christmas," Moffatt said.
So when the time comes for you to pick up your tree this year, knowing that you're safe is worth every penny.
More info: Moffatt's Tree Farm Choose and Cut Christmas trees 1262 Wild Branch Road, Craftsbury, VT 05826 - 802-586-2270 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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