Christmas tree shopper's guide

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You may be shopping for a Christmas tree this week. But with this summer's drought, coupled with recent rain, how do you know the one you take home will last?

You want to look for a nice full green tree, with no browning. There is no shortage of those at tree farms in the area.

Farm trees that are ready to be cut down and taken home are in great shape because they've been growing and cared for several years.

This past summer's drought didn't have an affect on these trees, but it did destroy some of the newer plants that didn't get a chance to take root, so your choices of mature trees are good this year.

"Any are a nice deep dark green this time of year are going to be healthy," said Loren Schmierer of Stony Creek Nursery. "If they were going to be knocked out, they would be showing symptoms and they would be browned off. So any of the trees from the field fresh cut are good and healthy."

What you do once you take them home is most important. Trees need water within an hour of being cut.  And you should never let that water run out, or the trunk will seal over and won't accept water.

Trees will go through several quarts of water a day, and you need to check them every day.

When it comes to lights, make sure you use UL-approved strands and make sure they are not cracked, broken or torn.

Fire departments recommend no more than three strands of lights together at a time.