Christmas trees are living things and you need to be aware of that as you look for the perfect Christmas tree for your home. Make sure the tree that you get is as fresh as possible. How do you know? Aren’t they all fresh?
Let’s just say that some are “a lot” fresher than others. Some Christmas tree growers start cutting and storing trees in November so they have enough trees cut when it comes time to ship them. This really isn’t a good thing, but it’s just the way it is. How they store the trees make a huge difference. Some dump them into a pond or lake to keep them moist until it’s time to ship them.
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You are much better off with a tree that was cut locally by a smaller grower. They just do things differently. Or better yet, go to a tree farm and cut your own.
While on the Christmas tree lot you can test the freshness of a tree by tugging on a branch to see how many needles come off in your hand. If a lot of green needles come off, that’s not a good sign. That tree may have already been cut for weeks before it made it to the lot. Just do your best to find a fresh tree.
How far do you have to haul your tree? Traveling for any distance at all with a tree tied to the top of your car will dehydrate the tree considerably. It depends on the weather, but it’s a lot like holding a blow dryer against the branches of the tree. The needles on the tree need all the moisture they can retain. Tarp your tree before you haul it home.
When you get the tree home if you are going to put it up right away store it out of direct sunlight and it certainly won’t hurt anything to wet the foliage as soon as you get it home. When you are ready to bring it into the house first make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. Just cut of about 1″ from the very bottom. Christmas trees contain a lot of sticky sap and when the cut end is exposed to the air the sap dries and actually seals up the end of the tree preventing it from absorbing water. That’s why you want a fresh cut right before you move it into the house.
Inside the house keep your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces and warm air vents. They will draw too much moisture out of your tree. Place your tree in a stand that has a water reservoir and keep the reservoir full of water at all times. A Christmas tree can absorb two to three quarts of water per day. Keep the water supply full!
After Christmas take the tree down as soon as it starts to drop more than just a few needles. To dispose of your Christmas tree do not put it out with your trash. It should be recycled. Take it to a facility that runs old trees through a chipper to be used as mulch or maybe somebody that collects old Christmas trees to be used as bird shelters or even fish shelters in a pond.
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Here’s the video about Digging and Planting a Live Christmas Tree in case you haven’t seen it.
John Wilson says
There are a few things you can add to the water to help the tree. 7up or sprite with syrup and an aspirin. It makes an artificial sap. Learned this one from a friend of mine who was a florist. She used it on all her flowers to keep them fresh.
John, thanks for sharing this. I knew somebody would offer this information, I really couldn’t remember what is normally used. I know they sell products to add to the water as well.
we make a family day of getting a tree, going in to the mountains. of cores there is a small fee, & takes more time but we enjoy it…..
How do you care for the little Christmas shaped rosemary plants. I have never gotten one to live past the season.
Keith, I don’t think I have an answer for this, anybody else?
Hi Mike, just read your article on Christmas trees, fantastic. I didn’t know half of that information. Anyhow, I’m wondering if I could plant my used tree outside after Christmas, rather than get rid of it ?.
Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas.
Christine, sure you can plant your tree outside if it’s balled tree. There’s a video about that on this page near the bottom of the article.