’Tis the season to be jolly as we’re just weeks away from the most wonderful holiday of the year. While some may head to the basement to get their artificial Christmas trees out as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is complete, others enjoy the annual tradition of finding and chopping down a real Christmas tree of their own.
Now some people may ask themselves, “When is the right time to cut down my Christmas tree?” If you take good care of your Christmas tree, it can last up to six weeks, so you should be able to pick yours at the beginning of December and still have it looking green and smelling fresh come the New Year. We all know that many of us don’t like taking the tree down as soon as Santa Claus heads back to the North Pole.
According to Mark Derowitsch, a spokesperson for the Arbor Day Foundation, the best way to ensure the most beautiful Christmas tree is to cut your own at a local farm, or to have one cut for you. If you are buying a pre-cut tree from a nursery, store or scout troop, ask them how recently the trees were harvested and where they came from. If you aren’t impressed with the answer, shop elsewhere. Also inspect them yourself by feeling the needles: they should be flexible, not dry and brittle. The fresher the tree, the longer it will last in your living room.
The National Christmas Tree Association also warns consumers to beware of buying a tree that’s losing its needles. Some dropping of older, interior needles is natural and normal. However, if the overall color is faded, the bark of the outer twigs is wrinkled and the green, exterior needles easily fall off with a gentle touch or when the tree is bounced on a hard surface, it is excessively dry.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, if you’re buying a tree that can be replanted later, keep in mind that only a very small percentage of Christmas trees will survive after being indoors. Freshly-cut Christmas trees are farmed specifically for indoor decoration and support local agriculture. The top-selling Christmas trees, as reported by growers across the United States, are the Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white pine and balsam fir, in that order.
Some people actually order their Christmas trees online, but it can be a really enjoyable holiday experience for the family to cut down their tree together. Plus, if you want to ensure quality, it’s best to do it in person so you can ask questions and really know what you’re purchasing.
Size also matters when choosing your Christmas tree, and that’s why you should measure the desired location of your tree first. According to Today’s Homeowner, “When you’re out in the open field or at the tree lot, the trees will seem small – many a family has chosen the perfect tree and taken it home, only to discover that it won’t fit in the house!” Don’t plan on trimming or shearing a tree – instead buy one that’s the right size and shape.
However, sometimes you don’t have to go far to find the perfect tree. Sometimes is sitting just feet from your window. Sometimes all you have to do is walk outside your home and you’ll spot the perfectly-shaped Christmas tree in your own backyard. But, chopping a tree isn’t always easy. It may require a professional hand. Thankfully, there are plenty tree cutting services nearby who will gladly assist.
Once you bring your Christmas tree home, there are a number of tips to keep in mind when caring for your tree. First, it’s best to chop off at least one inch from the bottom of the trunk.
Here are some other tips:
- Gently shake the tree to remove any loose needles. Some centres will do this for you when you buy the tree.
- If you’re not going to decorate your tree immediately, stand it in a bucket of water and keep it in a cool place such as a garage or shed until you’re ready to take it indoors.
- Pot the tree with the trunk immersed in water. Don’t use sand or soil in the tree stand as it restricts water from being drawn up the trunk.
- Stand the tree in the coolest part of the room, ideally next to a window and away from radiators and fires, then top it up with water daily.
PopularMechanics.com also warns people who buys Christmas trees to be wary about the lights they put on the tree as it can lead to a fire risk. “Make sure any lights you put on the tree are in good working order, and are designed for the purpose. Newer LED (light emitting diode) holiday lights cost only pennies a season to run, so they are a good value, while they also decrease fire risk because they stay cooler. Also make sure to keep any open flames away from the tree.”
Maintaining a high moisture level in the tree is the single most important factor in reducing needle loss and keeping the tree fresh, according to Penn State College of Agriculture Sciences. Use water-holding stands and always ensure the water level is above the base of the tree.
The National Christmas Tree Association also advises potential buyers not to add bleach, aspirin, fertilizer or other things to the water in an attempt to make the tree last longer. Research has shown that plain tap water is best. Some commercial additives and home concoctions can actually be detrimental to a tree’s moisture retention and increase needle loss.
Make sure you take the advice above when purchasing and preparing your Christmas tree for the holidays. A little extra attention is well worth it to ensure you will have your most wonderful time of the year. For those in the Portland, Oregon area, tree cutting services are available to you by clicking here.