Oh Fresh Christmas Trees!

The best tips to purchase and preserve your live Christmas tree

Alexandria, VA – Oh, fresh Christmas Trees! Americans bought 26.2 MILLION live Christmas trees last year, to the tune of about $2 BILLION. Some states are already reporting a 50% increase in trees sales during 2020, with the pandemic-weary public looking to spread a little festive cheer. Whether families have already purchased a tree or are still looking for the perfect pine, Scott Diffenderfer, Arborist & Expert at Trees.com, brings you the best tips to purchase and preserve your Christmas tree this holiday season.

What should people look for when buying a real Christmas tree?  

The fresher the better! It’s important to be sure your tree is fresh-cut. If possible, go to a “cut your own” fresh Christmas tree farm. If you get a tree delivered or shipped to your home, try to find out if it’s sent as soon as it’s cut. You do not want a tree that’s been cut 2 or 3 weeks before you buy it. Fresh cut trees will last longer and provide an aroma that adds to your Christmas pleasure too.

Oh Fresh Christmas Trees!
Fir trees (Photo courtesy of Trees.com)

What kind of tree should I buy?

There is a top 10 list for everything and fresh Christmas trees are no exception. Short, stout needles and sturdy branches are perfect when you are hanging decorations. Trees such as balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, white spruce, Norway spruce, and Scots pine are tried and true selections. If you prefer a softer-needled tree, the white pine is a good choice but keep in mind this is a softer tree and the needles are not as sturdy as those previously mentioned, as the limbs tend to bend or “weep” when weighted down. Something else to note – White pine is not as aromatic as the other trees.

What other tips do you have for tree care?

The single most important consideration for the care and longevity of your  fresh Christmas tree is water. The second and third most important tips are water, too! When you get your tree home, cut about ½” of the trunk off and get it in the stand as soon as possible. Keeping the vascular system of the tree open is the only way water will get into the tree, and if you let the water dry up, these bundles will close, and the water will stop moving into the tree.  Check the tree daily by bending a needle or two, if the needle is flexible and moves without breaking all is well, if the needle snaps when you bend it, the tree has dried out. This means you could have a significant fire hazard, not to mention a mess when you take the tree down. Lights can add to the problem of drying due to the heat they emit, but the newer LED lights reduce this issue. LED’s also reduce fire hazard.

Oh Fresh Christmas Trees!
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

What is the best way to dispose of a tree? 

Hopefully, you can dispose of your tree by recycling. Many communities set aside a day for this and have a tree chipper available that will turn the trees into woodchip mulch. If not and you burn wood, use the tree as kindling and fuel. Some other ideas include using the tree as a bird sanctuary or to create a shelter for fish. These ideas are not always practical but if you have a location where this is permitted then it may be worth considering.

Oh Fresh Christmas Trees!
Live tree in burlap sack (Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

If you purchase a live tree (usually it comes as ball and burlap – B&B, or in a container) you can plant your tree after the holidays are over. If you decide to take this route, its always wise to consider the temperature and site when you will plant the tree.  Be sure the tree is acclimated to the temperature it will be planted in, if you live in colder climates, it is best to hold the tree until spring and then plant (this can be done by placing the tree in the garage during the dormant season). Keep in mind it will still be necessary to water the tree occasionally during this period.

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