Christmas tree care

Whether you cut your own or buy a pre-cut Christmas tree, a little care will help you keep your tree fresh longer and avoid it becoming a fire hazard.

Here are some suggestions:
It is always best to start with a fresh cut tree. To test for freshness, sharply bend several needles between your thumb and forefinger, if the needles are brittle and snap then it’s too dry. Needles on a fresh tree will be flexible and spring back. They will be resilient when you brush your hand on the branch.

Choose varieties known for great needle retention and fragrance such as Balsam, Concolor, Douglas and Fraser fir. Scotch and white pine also hold their needles longer. Norway and white spruce are the worst. When you bring your tree home, cut off a 1 inch slice off the bottom and place in a bucket of water. This will allow the tree to drink and rehydrate. A newly cut tree will drink up to a quart or more of water each day for the first few days. Check the water level daily, if the bottom is allowed to dry out you will have to recut the base to open the sealed bottom before bringing it indoors. Store the tree in a cool, shaded location(unheated garage, porch).

Christmas tree care
When bringing indoors, have the tree stand ready and place away from a heating vent or fireplace. If there is a heating vent close by, cover it  to make sure the dry heat does seep through. Make sure your tree stand is large enough to hold at least one gallon of water  to keep the tree from drying out. Check the water supply daily. If the base is allowed to dry the resin will form a seal and the tree will not be able to drink up any water, thus drying out faster. The key to maintaining a fresh tree is to keep it in water at a cooler room temperature.

Once the holidays are over, recycle your tree by placing it outdoors in the yard for wintering birds to enjoy. Communities will also pick up the tree for recycling. It can also be submerged in a pond to create a fish habitat.  Branches can be used as protective covers for perennial beds or chipped for mulch in the spring.