"I discourage everyone from doing it this year," Whipkey said. "The ground is so dry, they are already stressed, so they will probably not make it. The fall drought has really hurt the trees."
That said, if you still want to bring in a live tree, Whipkey recommends buying one from the right place.
"You definitely want a root-ball tree -- go to a place that sells them already balled," Whipkey said. "Some growers raise them in large pots so the roots concentrate in the pot."
Whipkey runs a choose-and-cut tree farm at 200 Lory Drive, Charleston. You can call them at 304-965-0375 for directions. For other tree farms, visit www.wvforestry.com and click on the "Choose and Cut Christmas Trees" under the current news and events section.
If you decide to skip the whole plant-it-later process, the West Virginia Department of Forestry gives these tips for keeping your cut Christmas tree fresh, beautiful and risk-free during the holiday season.
Fresh pine and firs will hold their needles for several weeks when treated in this fashion. Spruces will hold their needles for at least two weeks.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.