ATHENS, Ga. -- Most of the Christmas trees displayed inside homes are harvested outside of Georgia because of the state's hot summers.

A University of Georgia horticulturist is hoping to change that by popularizing a hybrid that combines Fraser firs with their Japanese cousins, the Momi firs.

Mark Czarnota, a horticulturist and associate professor at UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, hopes to combine the hardy Momi fir rootstock and Fraser scion, or shoot, into a tree that will grow throughout much of Georgia and the Southeast.

Czarnota is using a $30,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant in his quest to find other alternatives for Georgia Christmas tree farmers.

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