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What is Turf Care?

Cultivating a beautiful, pristine lawn requires care, and turf care is a significant component of caring for and maintaining a property. But what is turf care, and what does turf care involve? Many people think that turf care is the same as lawn care or yard care. This article will inform you about what turf care is, what is involved, and describe turf care mistakes to avoid.

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What Is Turf, And How Do You Care For Turf?

Before getting into what turf care is, we first need to be clear about what turf is. You have probably heard the words turf, lawn, and yard used interchangeably throughout most of your life. While each of those words is quite similar in terms of their meaning, some notable differences lie between them. Turf is the soil on the ground surface that contains vegetation, usually grass. So when a landscape professional talks about turf, they refer to the layer of soil where the grass is planted.

Turf is also an artificial substitute for natural grasses, which is what you will likely find in sports fields. Turf grasses fall into 2 main categories: warm-season and cool-season grasses.

  • Warm-season grasses like Zoysia and St. Augustine thrive in hotter conditions.
  • Cool-season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass and perennial ryegrass can handle colder weather.

Turf care is the process of studying and making corrections to soil and grass. Some components of turf care include

  • soil analysis
  • fertilization
  • weed treatment

The goal of turf care is to make turf and lawn healthier, more resistant to pests and disease, and more beautiful and vibrant.

Person laying sod | what is turf care | Burkholder Landscape

Turf Care Mistakes People Make

Turf care may seem simple for most homeowners who want to keep their properties pristine. But on the other hand, many subtleties go into caring for turf and lawns that some homeowners may overlook or be unaware of. To help you avoid these issues and keep your turf and lawn healthy and beautiful, here are 4 turf care mistakes to avoid.

1. Underfeeding Lawns

Grass needs a fair amount of resources to grow throughout the year. Providing too little fertilizer will prevent your grass from looking great year-round. In addition, grass needs to have fertilizer at specific times during the year to maximize the benefits and the chances of looking good during challenging winter and summer seasons. Burkholder can provide turf and lawn care services, giving regular fertilizer and nutrients to your grass and ensuring all areas of your property receive the best care.

Landscaping backyard turf | what is turf care | Burkholder Landscape

2. Improper Watering

Another common turf mistake people make is improperly watering their grass or plants. For example, some homeowners opt to water their grass and plants for 5 to 10 minutes each day. In reality, watering for a longer amount of time and less often would be better. Deep watering provides enough water to travel deeper into the soil and absorb the roots. Weather can also affect how much to water grass. Hot temperatures mean additional watering, while rainfall may mean less or more depending on how much rainfall you get.

3. Mowing a Lawn Too Short

Grass plants grow root systems in proportion to their top growth, which means that when someone cuts their lawn too short, the grass is unable to make enough sugars for the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Those shallow roots can cause further turf and lawn issues, such as allowing the ground to absorb more sunlight, leading to weeds growing. Each grass type has a different ideal height, so reach out to Burkholder Landscape if you want to make sure your grass is the proper height.

4. Letting Weeds Grow

One of the other turf care mistakes people can make is inaction regarding weeds, letting them spread. Even a single weed can produce seeds to spread throughout an entire lawn, leading to more weeds down the road. By the time homeowners remove them, bare spots could appear that are fertile ground for even more weeds. A landscape professional can help you identify weeds early and has the tools and methods to remove them without harming your lawn.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Turf Care Services

Do you want turf care services to enhance the look and vigor of your property? If so, contact Burkholder Brothers. Our team of passionate, knowledgeable, certified landscape professionals has years of experience in turf care. We offer various turf care services to address your needs. For more information on our services, request a free consultation today.

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Top 5 Landscaping Projects with the Highest Return on Investment (ROI)

Homeowners considering home improvement projects often think about whether they will get the value back when they decide to sell their homes. Of course, kitchens and bathrooms are usually high on the list of popular renovations. However, homeowners may overlook that many outdoor landscaping projects can yield 100% or more of their investment in a home sale. In addition, the outdoor home improvements will enhance their family’s enjoyment with the upgrades to the outdoor living space.

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Landscaping Projects that Add Value to Your Home

Burkholder Brothers Landscape does all types of outdoor home improvements. We have collected information about which ones give you the best value for your hard-earned dollars. Some of the enhancements are so simple that they might surprise you.

1. Lawn Care

One of the most significant ways homeowners can increase their ROI on outdoor landscaping projects is to maximize curb appeal. Prospective buyers look carefully at landscaping when inspecting different houses, so the landscaping needs to be attractive and pristine. For example, suppose a buyer is looking at 2 different houses: one only has foundation planting in the front yard, while the other has more vibrant front yard landscaping with flower beds, window boxes, and other landscape features.

As a result, the buyer is far more likely to be attracted to and willing to pay more for the second house, allowing you to recoup more of your investment by listing your home at a higher price.

Essential lawn maintenance and upkeep improve curb appeal, but did you know that simply controlling weed growth and fertilizing can yield a ROI of nearly 270%? That is what a 2018 joint study by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found.

2. General Landscape Elements

In addition to improving your landscape, you can also add various landscape elements to your property to increase your ROI.

  • Walkways or stepping stones make traversing your yard easier (and cleaner when mud is present), and they also make a yard appear more cared for.
  • Large planters are visually appealing and relatively inexpensive.
  • Outdoor lighting adds greater security and more time to enjoy your outdoor living spaces.

The NALP and NAR study found that these types of upgrades can yield approximately an 80% ROI, and outdoor lighting can return 50% of the costs, primarily if you use the lighting to accentuate other aspects of your property, such as showing off the nearby plants or highlighting the architecture of your home.

3. Patios & Decks

Other types of landscaping projects that can make your outdoor space more usable and provide a high ROI are patios and decks. The addition of these exterior structures adds much value to a home in the eyes of homeowners and buyers. For example, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a new deck can return around 60-70% on your investment, depending on the materials used. This feature adds usable living space for your family. In addition the addition can complement your landscape and architecture while increasing your living space and making room for entertaining options, like eating or cooking areas and even a spa.

Top 5 landscaping projects with the highest ROI infographic | Landscaping Projects | Burkholder Landscape
landscaping projects - Burkholder Brothers Landscaping

4. Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular landscape features for homeowners over the past few years. An outdoor kitchen can be a landscape project that helps seal the deal when convincing prospective homeowners or buyers to buy your house. Some of the most common outdoor kitchen features are grills, dining areas, and outdoor bars that include built-in coolers and sinks. Other elements that you can consider adding to an outdoor kitchen that might help set your property apart from others in the eyes of buyers are firepits and pizza ovens. Based on the NALP and NAR study, you can expect a return on investment of approximately 70% if your outdoor kitchen project is relatively simple.

5. Softscape Upgrade

Adding upgraded soil that better nurtures grass and plant growth is one of the relatively simple landscaping projects that improve the overall look of your lawn. Lush shrubs and trees lend privacy, shade, and beauty. According to the University of Washington, larger trees in yards can add around 3% to 15% to your home’s value while increasing your pride and pleasure in your landscape.

Call Burkholder for all of Your Landscaping Projects

Burkholder Brothers landscaping has been designing, implementing, and maintaining home landscapes and landscape features for over 25 years in the Main Line area. Our designers will help you determine which landscaping projects will add the most value and enjoyment within your budget. Contact us today to get started on your landscaping.

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Spring Planting Leads to Gorgeous Summer Landscapes

We all love to see bright colors in surrounding landscapes, and one low-maintenance way to ensure beautiful blooms year after year is to plant perennial bulbs. Many homeowners focus on bulbs that flower in the spring, but did you know that some summer-blooming bulbs are available for spring planting to produce gorgeous summer landscapes?

Plants That Produce Vibrant Landscape Interest

Burkholder’s landscape maintenance experts discuss plants that are good for spring planting and summer landscapes. These bulbs are planted in the spring in beds or borders, or in movable hanging baskets and containers. They come in different forms, including true bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers.

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Four Types of Plant Bulbs

Bulbs are plants that complete their entire life cycle in their own underground storage structure. Bulbs may have several main kinds of storage structures, including true bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes.

True Bulbs

In true bulbs, the primary storage tissue are fleshy scales protected by a skin like covering called the tunic. Some examples of true bulb plants are lilies, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Corms

In corms, a storage tissue mass is formed from the stem base. The corms roots are protected by thin tunics. Some examples of corms are gladiolus, freesias, crocuses, and caladiums.

Tubers

Tuberous plants store nutrients in the root, unlike other bulbs that store them in the enlarged stems. Some examples of tuberous root bulb plants are dahlias and begonias.

Rhizomes

Rhizomes are different than other bulbs, in that their storage structures grow horizontally in the ground near the surface of the soil. Sometimes these types of plants are considered invasive. Lilies of the valley are rhizome bulb plants.

4 Beautiful Bulb Plants for Summer Landscapes

Our experts recommend these as some of the best summer blooming bulbs that can be planted in the spring:

  • Asiatic Lily | Bulb Plants forGorgeous Summer Landscapes | Burkholder Landscape

  • Tropicanna Lily | Bulb Plants forGorgeous Summer Landscapes | Burkholder Landscape

  • Crocosmia | Bulb Plants forGorgeous Summer Landscapes | Burkholder Landscape

  • Dahlia| Bulb Plants for Gorgeous Summer Landscapes | Burkholder Landscape

Asiatic Lily

This hardy easy-care lily is one of the earliest to bloom. Unscented flowers come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Pet owners should be careful as lilies are highly toxic to cats.

Canna Lily

Cannas are produced from rhizomes and are related to bananas and flowering ginger. The bold foliage of this plant with striking patterns and colors lends a tropical feel to summer landscapes. Flowers can have hues of red, pink, coral, white, yellow, and orange. Rhizomes can be left in the ground in warmer areas closer to a house.

Crocosmia

This iris relative (also known as montbretia) produces strappy foliage and stately flower spikes in sunset hues of red, orange, yellow, and coral. The small rounded corms can be left in the ground in warmer climates or dug up and stored during winter months. Crocosmia plants love full sun and need good drainage.

Dahlia

This flower, a native of Mexico is one of the most beloved summer flowers. Dahlias come in an endless array of flower colors, forms, and sizes—from 2-inch pompons to giant 10-inch dinnerplates. Plant size can range from dwarf border types to taller forms. The tubers can be left in the ground in warmer climates or dug up and stored for the winter. Dahlia plants need good drainage and moderate water.

Contact Burkholder for Stunning Summer Landscapes

The experts at Burkholder Landscape have been designing, installing and maintaining fine Main Line Landscapes for over 20 years. We handle all aspects of landscape beautification, including planning and installing plant beds. If you want to upgrade your summer landscapes with some vibrant floral interest, contact us today for a consultation. We can help design a garden that requires little maintenance, that provides enjoyment all spring and summer.

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Trends in Outdoor Kitchens and Grills

Outdoor kitchens and grills have become increasingly practical and popular! These appliances provide the opportunity for a homeowner to extend the theme of the indoor space outdoors, creating a hub for collaboration and entertainment with family and friends. A 2021 design trends report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) found that 60% of homeowners want to add outdoor kitchens. Looking at some of the hottest trends in outdoor kitchens and grills may help you determine viable options for your own outdoor kitchen space.

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Top Trends in Outdoor Kitchens and Grills

If you are considering updating your property, look at some of the top trends in outdoor kitchens and grills. Burkholder designs outdoor spaces using these features and more to create your ideal outdoor living space.

Different Grill Options & Features

When most people think of outdoor cooking in their backyards, the most common images that come to mind are grills and barbeques. Many homeowners have an outdoor grill, either gas or charcoal. However, more people are looking into other options for their grills. Wood-fired grills are gaining widespread recognition: grilling over wood can incorporate new flavors and aromas into whatever you are cooking. In addition, a wood-fired grill can now have many modern features and materials such as stainless steel.

Some homeowners are also turnings toward other options for their outdoor cooking desires. For example, fire pits and fireplaces invoke memories of sitting around a campfire and roasting marshmallows. Likewise, home chefs and grill masters often incorporate smokers into their outdoor kitchen designs.

Outdoor Grill with refrigerator and counter top | Trends in Outdoor Kitchens and Grills | Burkholder Landscaping
Kitchen with the works - Island, Grill, beer tap | Trends in Outdoor Kitchens and Grills | Burkholder Landscaping

Pizza Ovens

While the term “outdoor kitchen” is certainly suggestive of barbeques and bonfires for most homeowners, we should also mention the other capabilities these structures can possess. For example, pizza ovens are increasingly popular trends in outdoor kitchens and grills. People want to combine their love of pizza and cooking. In addition, pizza ovens invite creativity and casual dining experiences outdoors.

Outdoor Ice-Makers

Everyone knows that summer days are hot. However, suppose you are entertaining outdoors on a sunny day. In that case, drinks become warm quickly, and walking to the indoor kitchen to repeatedly refresh drinks is inconvenient (and maybe messy if kids are involved).

As a result, more and more homeowners are investing in outdoor ice-makers or refrigerators as part of a larger outdoor bar. The reason is apparent: people want to guarantee that their drinks are cold while remaining outdoors where the action is!

Additional Exterior Storage Options

A more extensive outdoor kitchen demands more appliances and requires more storage space for cooking accessories. As a result, one of the biggest trends in outdoor kitchens and grills is homeowners opting to have outdoor kitchen cabinets and shelving built into their existing features. These cabinets and shelves are much more attractive (and weatherproof) than cluttered storage bins. In addition, some homeowners are choosing to install kitchen islands, as the benefits are three-fold: more counter space, more storage, and extra seating. Islands can even house grills, bars, a tap, and other features.

Different Functional Zones

While people use their outdoor kitchens primarily for cooking, kitchens also serve as entertainment spaces. Increasingly common outdoor kitchen trends are kitchens with different zones that allow guests to interact with the cook while still occupying a comfortable space. For example, an outdoor kitchen might be next to a lounge area to let people chat with the cook while still having comfortable seating. In addition, the implementation of a dividing feature, such as a multi-level countertop, allows for contact between the host and the guests and creates a definitive entertainment culture.

Burkholder Designs Unique Spaces Utilizing Outdoor Kitchens and Grills

While the possibilities to expand and enhance your outdoor kitchen are limitless, we hope that these trends in outdoor kitchens and grills will help guide your research and decision to upgrade your outdoor space to include a kitchen. To take full advantage of your outdoor entertainment space and invigorate your outdoor kitchen project, contact Burkholder for a consultation today, and we will help you achieve the outdoor kitchen of your dreams!

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Patio Options to Make Your Outdoor Space Exceptional

Many homeowners enjoy spending time out on their patios and want to make their patios suit their needs. Some want protection from the elements, others want to cook and dine outdoors, and others need a lot of seating for entertaining guests. However you like to spend time outdoors, the patio options available to you can take your outdoor space to the next level. Here are some ideas for features and structures that can improve your patio and outdoor space.

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Covers and Shade Structures

Some of the most popular patio options for homeowners are structures that provide cover and shade, which take many forms based on peoples’ preferences.

  • Pergolas are freestanding structures, typically made from wood, that provide partial overhead coverage and are especially beautiful with plant or canopy accents.
  • A pavilion is another freestanding structure similar to a pergola: the main difference being that a pavilion has a fully-covered roof. Pavilions provide plenty of coverage for backyard areas like a grill.
  • Shade sails are outdoor covers made from fabric that offer shade (and look similar to the sails of a boat) and are ideally installed over decks or patios.

Each of these structures and coverings has unique designs and is excellent if you want to keep UV rays and rain from messing up your outdoor fun.

Lighting used in pavilion | Patio Options | Burkholder Landscaping

Outdoor Kitchen

A growing trend among homeowners who want to improve their patios and backyards is to add an outdoor kitchen or dining area. Both of these patio options make your space noteworthy and exceptional while also having many design possibilities. For example, if you like to cook outdoors and want an outdoor kitchen designed for entertainment, you can add a bar or island so your friends and family can chat while cooking. You can also add various cooking tools and features, such as pizza ovens or beer taps, to give you more options. And these can be outfitted with additional features like warming drawers, sinks, and refrigerators to make your outdoor kitchen as high-tech as your indoor kitchen.

Techo Bloc Retaining Seating Wall | Patio Options | Burkholder Landscaping

Seating Walls

More and more homeowners are adding outdoor furniture to their patios for extra seating, but one of the more creative ways people add additional seating is with seating walls. A seating wall is a short wall designed for seating, combining all of the benefits of a place to sit with retaining walls. In addition, while weatherproof and resistant outdoor furniture exists, a seating wall can easily withstand exposure to sunlight, rain, snow, and other weather. So if you need to control a slope in your yard, repurpose a retaining wall, or want to define where the patio ends and the yard begins, seating walls are great choices.

Seating walls also work when paired with other patio features. For example, a fire pit makes for a great central location to gather around for entertainment, and a seating wall can accommodate many people while reflecting heat from the fire for a cozy lounge area.

Other Patio Options

In addition to the options listed above, here are a few other ways to improve your patio.

  • Fireplaces and fire pits, as mentioned previously, are great for creating comforting and inviting entertainment spaces.
  • Sound systems give entertainment options, like playing music when hosting a party with friends and family.
  • Adding plants around the patio is ideal for nature lovers and those who appreciate their landscape.

Contact Burkholder for Patio & Landscape Design

Do you have a preference for one or more of these many patio options? If you want them to be incorporated in your landscape, contact Burkholder Brothers. Burkholder’s landscape design experts will work closely with you through a proven design process to arrive at concepts suited to your needs, sense of style, and home. We have worked with Main Line residents for decades, building pergolas or pavilions and designing and maintaining their landscapes. In addition, we offer a range of choices that maximize style and detail while respecting the project budget. Contact us today for a consultation!

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Find Unique Holiday Gifts at Burkholder’s Holiday Market

Have you ever tried to find unique holiday gifts for your friends and family? We all have had that same experience, struggling to find the right gift for a friend or family member. That person may seem to already have everything, making finding a unique gift challenging. You might just be unsure of what precisely that person likes. We all want to give unique, thoughtful gifts. For many people, the best gifts speak to their personalities and enhance the holiday mood. If you do want to find just the right gift this holiday season, the Burkholder Holiday Market has ideas for you.

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Holiday Decorations

Decorations make great unique holiday gifts due to the sheer variety available, both in the types and designs of decorations. Figurines and ornaments can both add holiday cheer to any home and some can be used all year round. Pillows are especially ideal gifts for the winter season. And wall décor is great for those who like interior decorating and design.

Figurines & Ornaments

Are you buying presents for an animal lover or a nature lover? If so, our holiday market has a variety of figurines of all sorts of animals. These lovely figurines make great stocking stuffers and will bring life and joy all year round, even when the holidays are over. If you are buying gifts for someone who loves to decorate the Christmas tree (or trees!), then ornaments are the way to go. Brightly painted wooden ornaments add a pop of color to any tree. You can even put ornaments like figurines into decorative containers so that they can be used as decor all year.

Pillows

Pillows always make thoughtful gifts. Our pillows come in different sizes and designs. We have bigger pillows with fun holiday sayings or smaller ones with subtle, elegant designs of snowflakes and deer, and everything in-between.

Unique Holiday Gits at Burkholder's Holiday Market
Wall Decor is one of the unique holiday gifts at the Burkholder Holiday Market

Wall Décor

Wall décor and is also fun and adds character, spreading holiday cheer throughout our homes. Burkholder’s holiday wall décor includes framed wooden plaques, metal worked items, and fabric decorations. The variety of textures, shapes, and designs will give people plenty of options for unique holiday gifts.

Nature & Plant Holiday Gifts

When people are coming up with gift ideas, nature and plant gifts tend to get overlooked. However, if you happen to be buying a gift for a nature lover or someone who loves to work on landscaping outdoors, small potted trees are great gifts. Your friends and family can decorate the tree with some holiday ornaments, and the recipient can later plant the tree in the spring. We also sell Christmas tree decorations.

Wreaths and Garlands

Speaking of decorations, people can enhance the fresh scent of evergreen from the Christmas tree by buying other evergreen decorations. Hand-made wreaths for the door, garlands for the mantle and stair rails, and swags for the walls all make wonderful gifts that add a lot of holiday charm to one’s home. These accessories last for months, so recipients can keep them in their homes to enjoy the evergreen fragrance well into the spring.

Finding a gift for someone during the holidays that is unique and fits the person’s personality can be a challenge. But with Burkholder’s Holiday Market and a little bit of time and thought, anybody can find that perfect gift.

Visit the Burkholder Holiday Market for Unique Gifts

Browse the Burkholder Holiday Market to find gift ideas for whoever is on your Christmas list,. We have many unique holiday gifts to choose from, and we are serving complimentary wine or beer to our visitors over 21 years old. We also have food trucks and bonfires for marshmallow roasting and even visits from Santa and his reindeer! So come in, have a drink, roast a marshmallow, and enjoy a memorable holiday shopping experience.

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What Goes Into Growing Christmas Trees

With the Christmas season here, and our lot filled with fresh-cut trees, our plant health care team thought our visitors might be interested in learning what is involved in growing Christmas trees. Many people may think that growing a Christmas tree is the same as finding any other tree in their yard or at a park. But the truth is, Christmas trees require particular care. So here is the process of growing the ideal Christmas tree.

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Planting & Growing Christmas Trees

Growing a Christmas tree takes a lot of time and labor. Like other plants, Christmas trees require the proper conditions that will encourage healthy growth and lower the risk of health issues as much as possible. For example, growers need to remove weeds, and the soil has to have the proper pH balance and be fertile enough for the seedlings. All of these issues need to be ironed out in advance of actually planting the tree seeds. In addition, growers need to plant the tree at the correct depth: If the trees are planted too deep, the root structure will struggle to expand and send nutrients to the tree. If they are planted too shallowly, the roots may be damaged by hot or cold temperatures and dry soil conditions.

The next step is to take care of and maintain the tree’s health. Growing Christmas trees takes a long time: up to 3 years for a transplanted seedling to establish a sound root system and around 8 to 10 years to grow to a good size. And like other plants, Christmas trees are susceptible to numerous issues that affect their health, ones that people need to look out for as the tree grows.

Christmas Tree Health Issues

Pests and diseases can cause issues for Christmas trees and the people who grow them. One of the more common diseases is Phytophthora, a fungus-like organism favored by wet, saturated soils with poor drainage. When soil is too moist, certain fungus spores can germinate to produce swimming spores that infect Christmas trees and other plant roots. Affected trees initially have single branches (usually ones low on the tree) with needles that change to yellow and red-brown and remain on the tree. To prevent root rot, growers need to purchase clean, healthy tree seedlings and ensure the planting sites have suitable conditions.

Another issue that can affect Christmas trees is Swiss needle cast. Swiss needle cast is a fungal disease that results in the second or third-year needles on the lower branches of the tree yellowing or browning. The fungus typically infects trees in the summer, develops, and spreads over the fall and winter, eventually resulting in the needles dropping around late summer.

Christmas tree with presents around it | growing Christmas trees | Burkholder Brothers
Christmas tree farm | growing Christmas trees | Burkholder Brothers Holiday Market

Keeping Christmas Tree Health Issues in Check

Much care is involved in growing Christmas trees. Growers need to keep a close eye on their trees and the growing fields to detect any issues early. If a grower notices any problems, they need to take specific measures depending on the situation, such as applying fertilizer and pest control. Growers also need to trim the branches to promote that classic Christmas tree shape.

Visit the Burkholder Holiday Market for Fresh Cut Christmas Trees

If you are looking for a fresh tree this holiday season and prefer a local vendor to traveling hours to a farm that is growing Christmas trees, visit the Burkholder Holiday Market. Our holiday market offers freshly cut Pennsylvania-grown Christmas trees, such as Douglas firs and Fraser firs. We also have unique gifts for sale, and special events like bonfires for marshmallow roasting and even visits from Santa and his reindeer! Visit our holiday market today and get your beautiful Christmas tree.

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Choosing and Care of Christmas Trees

Around 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are sold each year, and those households buying trees want their trees to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. An essential part of keeping holiday decorations beautiful is the thoughtful choosing and care of Christmas trees. By choosing the right tree and adequately caring for it, you can have a classic, festive Christmas tree for the holiday season. Here are some tips for choosing and caring for your Christmas tree.

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Choosing a Christmas Tree

If you have ever been to a Christmas tree farm or retail lots, you may know how hard choosing one can be. You have many species to choose from, and each one will have a unique appearance. So which one should you pick? Here are a few tree species that make for great Christmas trees.

Fraser Fir

The Fraser Fir is a popular species for Christmas trees in the U.S. Fraser Fir trees have strong, sturdy branches that turn slightly upward, great for holding heavy ornaments. In addition, the tree has soft, dark green needles and a mild, pleasant fragrance. Finally, the Fraser Fir trees tend to have compact shapes and sizes, so transporting them to your house is easier.

Douglas Fir

Another excellent choice for your Christmas tree is the Douglas Fir, the most popular Christmas tree species for decades. Similar to the Fraser Fir, the needles are soft, and the tree has a sweet fragrance. The needles themselves vary in color depending on the variety of Douglas Fir, ranging from yellow-green to blue-green. Branches are flexible, and the bark is thick and durable.

Christmas tree farm | choosing and care of Christmas trees | Burkholder
Christmas tree in house surrounded by presents | choosing and care of Christmas trees | Burkholder Brothers

Tips on the Choosing and Care of Christmas Trees

Another major part of the holidays is caring for your Christmas tree. Of course, we all want our Christmas trees to maintain their appearance over the holiday season, so care is needed to help them stay healthy and beautiful. Christmas trees require special, daily care to keep up their health and appearance. We have a couple of tips for the choosing and care of Christmas trees and their place in your home.

Choose a Good Spot

Before you go out and pick a tree, make sure that you have a good spot picked out. Ensure your tree will be away from heat sources, such as heat vents, radiators, or wood stoves. Being away from heat sources prevents the tree from drying out too quickly, which leads to needle dropping and potential fire hazards. Tall trees may need to be secured with wires to the walls or ceiling for support.

Measure Your Space

Once you have a good location in your home for your Christmas tree, measure the height and width of the space your tree will occupy. Then, make sure you take a tape measure when you pick out fresh Christmas trees. This way, you will find a tree that fits appropriately in your home. You may also want to pack a blanket or tarp and rope to secure the tree to your car, if necessary.

Give Your Christmas Tree Enough Water

After you and your family have brought your tree home, place the base of the tree inside a large container or bucket of water. The tree needs to absorb water to maintain a long lifespan, and warm water is absorbed faster than cold. Warm, plain tap water is ideal for helping your tree be healthy for as long as possible.

Your stand needs to hold the trunk and contain enough water for your tree’s size. Depending on how big your tree is, your stand may need to be larger or filled more often. To know the water level your tree needs, use a quart of water for each inch of trunk width at the base. So if your tree’s trunk is 4 inches across, the stand should hold at least 4 quarts, or 1 gallon, of water.

Visit Burkholder for All of Your Holiday Needs

Find the ideal Christmas tree and form memories with your family at our holiday market! When you pick your fresh Christmas tree, pick up some festive holiday gifts, share some family fun by roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate, and even get an early visit from Santa. Visit our holiday page for special event dates, or contact us.

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5 Pennsylvania Holiday Traditions to Celebrate This Christmas

The Christmas season in Pennsylvania is one of the best times of the year. The beautiful snow, twinkling holiday lights, and delicious food make the winter a wonderful time. And some of our old, enduring traditions make celebrating the holidays in the Keystone State special. From the light shows and home light displays to the feasts on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, our traditions are a great way to celebrate the season with our friends and family. Here are some unique Pennsylvania holiday traditions that we look forward to celebrating.

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Decorating Homes & Trees with the Moravian Star

While many Pennsylvania families decorate their homes with traditional Christmas stars, some choose to decorate with a Moravian star instead. The Moravian Church has a long history in Pennsylvania (going back to 18th-century German settlers), but the star is a little more recent.

The first Moravian star originated in the 1830s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Niesky, Germany, likely a geometry lesson or project. The Moravian Church adopted the star as an Advent symbol, which continues to have significance in the Moravian-founded communities of Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Moravian stars typically have 25 or 26 points and are hung in windows or above porches. The Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem has a 6-foot star for the bell tower, a gift from the Moravian Star Factory in Herrnhut, Germany. Some stars can even have up to 100 points.

Hanging Upside-down Christmas Trees

Moravian star | Pennsylvania holiday traditions | Burkholder

Pennsylvania holiday traditions hardly get more unique and interesting than this one. Pennsylvania has a rich history of German immigrants, and one practice those immigrants brought over was hanging their Christmas trees upside-down. The reason? Some believe that the tradition was started to save space in small homes or as even a religious origin.

Historians believe that upside-down Christmas trees prevented mice from eating the ornaments. This is because Pennsylvania Dutch tree ornaments were often edible, such as cranberries or the “snitz,” a dried apple garland.

Today, most people’s homes are free of mice, yet some Pennsylvanians still hang their trees upside-down. If you are looking for a unique way to add the holiday spirit to your Christmas tradition, hanging your tree upside-down may do the trick.

Hiding the Christmas Pickle in the Tree

Another unique Pennsylvania holiday tradition has equally unique origins. Some Pennsylvanians hide a pickle ornament in their Christmas trees and challenge family and friends to find the pickle. Whoever finds the pickle first earns a reward, such as opening the first present on Christmas day or good luck for the following year.

The origins of this tradition are a mystery. The common belief was that the Christmas pickle originated from a game in Germany. Other origins suggest that the tradition came from Camp Sumter during the American Civil war, or a Victorian-era tale. Regardless, plenty of children in Pennsylvania look forward to being the first to find the pickle in the tree and to receiving a special gift from Santa Claus.

Christmas village | Pennsylvania holiday traditions | Burkholder

Setting Up a Christmas Village, or “Putz”

We have all seen one of these setups, as a miniature village is one of the most iconic Christmas displays of the holiday season. Christmas villages, like many Pennsylvania holiday traditions, came from the Moravian church and early Moravian settlements. These miniature decorations began with a traditional nativity scene, but have become more elaborate arrangements.

A Christmas village is also called a putz, from the German verb putzen, which means “to clean” or “to decorate.” Christmas villages became popular after World War II, especially porcelain and ceramic villages. While this tradition has become more popular across the U.S., gathering around to build a Christmas village will always be a special occasion in Pennsylvania.

Celebrating Second Christmas

A unique trait among Pennsylvanians is that we look forward to Second Christmas. Second Christmas is a custom, German in origin, which takes place the day after Christmas, December 26. While many holiday traditions originate from religious practices, Second Christmas is secular. The first documented mention of Second Christmas was on Dec. 27, 1808. The custom was mentioned in “Volksfreund,” a German-language publication in Lancaster, PA. Many Amish still celebrate Second Christmas today, as do other Pennsylvania families.

Visit the Burkholder Holiday Market for Unique Gifts

To help celebrate your Pennsylvania holiday traditions, visit the Burkholder Holiday Market. We have a variety of unique, thoughtful gifts to choose from, and we are serving complimentary hot chocolate, wine, or beer to our weekend visitors. Come in, find your fresh cut Christmas tree, have a drink, roast a marshmallow, and enjoy a special holiday shopping experience.

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