BELVIDERE — Now that it’s December, it’s time to get or start thinking about getting a fresh, live Christmas tree at a New Jersey farm.

The crop is looking good this year, said Tim Dunne, owner of Woodsedge Tree Farm in Belvidere and vice president of The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association.

He said farmers were concerned in July and August with the little to no rain the state experienced, but only young trees and seedlings were affected; some were lost. He said the seedlings will be re-planted in the spring.

But the mature trees that will be cut for Christmas look great, Dunne said.

What tree should I cut down?

The fir trees are the most popular, Dunne said. Those include Fraser, Canaan, and Concolor. Douglas fir is still popular but that’s on the decline.

Many like spruce trees like Norway Spruce and Blue Spruce. Others like pine trees like white pine and Scotch pine.

Dunne says the fir trees are popular because of their strong fragrance, great needle retention, bright, beautiful green color, and stiff branches for hanging heavy ornaments.
The fir trees check off all the boxes, he said.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)
Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)

What will a real Christmas tree cost this year?

The average cost of a tree this year will be $10-20 a foot.

“That’s a big range but there are a lot of variables depending on where you are in New Jersey," Dunne said. "The further you are to the urban areas, the more prices go up a little bit. Dunne’s farm is out in western New Jersey so their prices are a bit lower."

“Our prices are up about 7% this year,” he said.

Dunne said the major costs on his farm are fertilizer and fuel. The fuel is used for mowing and running tractors.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)
Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)

How do you keep a real Christmas tree alive for a long period?

“Fresh tree. Fresh cut. Fresh water,” said Dunne.

Be sure to come out to a choose-and-cut farm and cut the tree down fresh, he said. A tree that is bought at a big-box store or a grocery store was probably cut in early November so it’s not a fresh tree.

If your tree is not going up right away, make a fresh cut. Dunne said to cut about a half-inch off the bottom of the tree.

“What happens is when the tree is cut in the field, the sap seals the end of the tree and doesn’t let it take up water anymore,” Dunne said.

Once the cuts are made, keep the tree in fresh water. Have a stand that holds a gallon of water. Make sure the stand is filled with fresh water every day. Do not let it dry out, he said.

“If you follow those steps, fresh tree, fresh cut, fresh water, you will have a beautiful tree until the new year,” he added.

When is it time to throw the tree out?

When the tree starts dropping a lot of needles or when you brush up against it and the needles fall, it’s time to get rid of it, Dunne said.

Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)
Christmas trees at Woodsedge Tree Farm, Belvidere, NJ (Photo Credit: Tim Dunne)

Is there a tree shortage?

Dunne wants to make it clear that despite the news about a tree shortage, there is not one, at least not on his farm, which has been in existence for 35 years.

Now, people may not get the exact tree size they want or the species they want, but Dunne said most of the farms in the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association have plenty of trees.

Dunne's farm is one of the smaller Christmas tree farms in the state. He has six acres and 6,000 trees on his farm. He hopes to sell between 500 and 600 fresh Christmas trees each season.

Dunne encourages people to get out to a tree farm in New Jersey and shop early and he promises there will be a tree for everyone.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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