SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Truitt Zipperer and his sons walk through the rows of trees searching for their Christmas trees.
The farm is empty, and they have the first pick of the season. Just an advantage to owning one of the very few local Christmas tree farms in the Coastal Empire.
Truitt explains the number one rule of choosing a tree.
“First of all, I took note of where I was going to put it in the home, both height and width. When you get out here, they tend to be a lot bigger than what you think they’re going to be when you get them inside,” Truitt said. “So, I know exactly where I’m going to put this, and it’s nice and full.”
Armed with some more of Truitt’s tips, he heads to his other full time job and I tag along with the Price family and share them as they searched for their first live Christmas tree as a family of four.
3-year-old Daisy says “pretty” as she points to a small tree, and she she’s not alone, looks are common approach to choosing a tree. Baby Murphy is just happy to be there as he gurgles with glee.
Ben likes to touch the trees. Zipperer’s trees are Murray Cypress, a bit different from widely commercially sold Frasier Firs.
“We’re pretty close to sea level and you got to be a certain elevation probably 3,000 feet or above to grow a Frasier Fir.”
I tell Ben that these Murrays don’t have the rigid branches that a Frasier fir has so when thinking about the decorating - it’s best to hang ornaments from the light string. I also show him Zipperer’s decorated tree - which makes him feel better.
Kimberly likes the whole experience saying, “You get to see how the tree started in the ground, how they grew and then connecting with the final result. It was easier to do here than just a tree lot.”
The Prices pick their tree which is between six and seven feet tall and very full, from top to bottom.
Zipperer prunes the trees twice a year for those iconic Christmas tree shapes. Any of his mature 5-6 year old Murray Cypress have been hand pruned about a dozen times.
Now the cutting begins, and in all fairness, the saw we had was not that great but it’s all part of the experience.
Ben says, “I’m sawing. It’s going pretty quick.”
Five minutes later, we go the electric route.
“No shame in tryin” says the professional owner who also went straight to the chainsaw.
The tree is cut and now off to its new home back in Chatham County on Wilmington Island. “You feel a little like Clark Griswold? Hopefully not because theirs had a squirrel in the tree.”
Needing half a gallon of water a day. If closer to 10 feet - a gallon a day. Zipperer says no additives needed.
“Some people put coke or sprite in their water, but that’s to loosen up the sap. Since we just cut it, you don’t need that.”
With their hands full of tree and little hands - the Prices brought photographer Jaden Georgiani to make sure the special day was captured. Anyone can bring a photographer for a fee and Truitt will make sure you get your own little area to capture your Christmas tree adventure.
“I think it was fun. I think she enjoyed touching the trees and helping pick the one out.”
“Oh, it’s very rewarding. I’ve seen kids grow up. It’s become a family tradition.”