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Two area residents help judge Pa. trees

January 17, 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Eighteen growers from 12 Pennsylvania counties entered the Christmas tree contest at the Pennsylvania Farm Show last week.

Eric and Gloria Sundback of Shepherdstown, W.Va., judged the initial 64 entries in the eight classes, which are based on Christmas tree species. The trees were evaluated on foliage, taper, density, handle, color, naturalness and defects.

The public voted on the finalists. Chosen grand champion was a Concolor fir from McClellan's Tree Farm, Middleburg, Pa. Reserve Grand Champion honors went to Heritage Acres, Bloomsburg, Pa., which exhibited the "All Other Pines" champion.

Dr. Rick Bates, assistant professor of Ornamental Horticulture at Penn State, assisted the Sundbacks at the judging event.

Winners will compete at the National Christmas Tree Growers Association contest in August, with the winner potentially having the opportunity to place their tree in the White House.

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Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of tree farms, and ranks among the top four in tree acreage and revenue. Douglas Fir and Fraser Fir are the two most important species covering 60-65 percent of Christmas tree acreage in Pennsylvania. Other popular breeds include Canaan Fir, Colorado Spruce, White Pine and Scotch Pine.

Christmas tree growers are closely associated with the landscaping industry. Many trees are balled, bur lapped, and sold strictly for landscaping purposes, allowing for a year long market.

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