Ask Mr. Christmas Tree
If you’re looking for Gary Chastagner around this time of year, you would do well to put out an all-points bulletin to Wherever Christmas Trees Are Sold. He’s perused trees up and down the West Coast, as well as in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Arizona, and Texas. Just look for the cheerful fellow taking clippings, bending needles, and chatting up the owners about things like moisture content and needle retention.
Chastagner, officially a plant pathologist with the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, is better known as “Mr. Christmas Tree.” For more than 30 years, his pursuit of new knowledge about the trees has been so thorough that it would be called obsessive, were it not science. He has studied tree diseases, analyzed species from around the world, deconstructed tree stands, and grappled with that bane of the Christmas tree consumer, needles on the carpet. Read more.