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      Christmas trees safe from drought, water is key to preservation through the season

      Traditionally thoughts turn to picking out a Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. In Central New York, neighbors can take comfort that the summer drought that's affected so many crops across the nation has not impacted tree selection.

      Hafner's in North Syracuse says it has plenty of trees to choose from -- just as many as last year.

      The trees' deep roots kept them safe from the drought, and October's substantial rain helped hydrate the trees, pushing them to thrive.

      Experts say the key to preserving your tree through the season is to keep it hydrated. Start thinking about fresh water as soon as you leave the retail lot.

      "Have them make a fresh cut, and when you get it home, put it right in water. Use very, very hot water the first time because it draws up through the tree," Chuck Hafner, owner of Hafner's, says.

      You don't have to use boiling water, but trees tend to soak up the most water in the first few days, so be sure to check the level every day.

      "if it goes down below [the line of] the first cut, or if you have been home for awhile before you put it up, and you don't get water in it, you need to make another fresh cut," Hafner says.

      Hafner says the tree needs to take in water to last the longest.

      He predicts supply and demand will keep prices about the same, or even a little cheaper than last year.