December 2, 2003
Florida Christmas Trees to Brighten Capitol Offices
TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Christmas Tree Association is decking the halls of several Capitol offices with fresh-cut Christmas trees from a North Florida Christmas tree farm.
On Wednesday, December 3, Governor Jeb Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, and Attorney General Charlie Crist will accept seven-foot Leyland Cyprus trees from Havana Christmas Tree Farm. Association President Michael Songer will assist in the presentation in the Governor’s office at 11 a.m. The trees will be set up in the Capitol offices for the public to enjoy.
“What better way to kick off the holiday season than to put up a Christmas tree fresh from Florida,” Bronson said. “Many people don’t realize there are beautiful Christmas trees grown right here in the Sunshine State.”
The Florida Christmas Tree Association, which was created in 1982, represents about 40 family-run Christmas tree farms statewide, down from 100 just a few years ago. Most of the farms are located north of Orlando. The association educates producers and promotes fresh, Florida-grown trees to the public. While the number of Christmas tree farms is on the decline, Songer said an estimated 100,000 Florida-grown Christmas trees are sold in the state each year.
“While many trees are imported, Florida Christmas tree farms sell the experience of a family coming together to pick out its own tree and watch as it is freshly cut,” Songer said.
The trees presented to state officials are Leyland Cyprus, which Songer described as the “new kid on the block.” From seedlings, they grow an average of about a foot a year and must be trimmed about three times a year. They are sturdier than some other trees and have been growing in popularity. Other Christmas trees grown in Florida include the Southern Red Cedar and Virginia Pine.
Information about locating a Christmas tree farm in your area can be obtained by visiting florida-agriculture.com or www.realchristmastrees.org on the Internet.