Caring for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

When it is time to decorate our homes for Christmas, what better way to do that than to purchase a locally grown, fresh cut Christmas tree.
Caring for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree - Articles
Caring for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Start by selecting a conifer that will meet your needs or interests. There is no right or wrong species when it comes to choosing a Christmas tree. It all depends on your tastes and what is available locally.

Some of the most popular conifers grown for Christmas trees

  • Douglas Fir

    Has soft, flat blue-green needles that are attached singly to the stem. Their naturally symmetrical growth habit yields a full, attractive Christmas tree, and their reputation for good needle retention makes Douglas-fir one of the most popular species to invite home for the holidays. The sweet citrusy scent is a plus for the holiday.

  • Frasier and Balsam Fir

    These firs are very similar to Douglas fir but has stiffer branches and very good needle retention; The spicy, resinous fragrance makes Frasier and balsam firs holiday favorites.
  • Colorado Blue Spruce

    This spruce has sharp, square needles and a blue-green to silvery blue color. They tend to have a symmetrical growth habit and hold the heaviest ornaments without complaint. They hold their needles well, but only if care is taken to make sure they never run out of water.

You can definitely be assured of getting a fresh tree if you cut your own tree from a local Christmas tree farm. While this is a cherished family tradition for many, the convenience of purchasing a pre-cut tree is more attractive for others.

To check a pre-cut tree for freshness, look for flexible needles that remain firmly attached when you tug on them. All needled evergreens shed their oldest needles every year, so do not be concerned when brown needles fall from the interior of the tree when you knock the base of the tree on the ground. Just make sure they are thoroughly shaken off the tree before taking it indoors. If the needles pull out easily, or if they appear a dull, lifeless green, that tree may be past its prime.

When you get your tree home, make a new cut about one-quarter inch deep across the base of the trunk to open fresh vascular tissue. The cut should be straight across so the tree sits properly in the stand. Also, try not to damage the bark on the trunk too much. A tree's vascular system is right under the bark, and it is important to keep it as intact as possible so that the tree can absorb water freely

Once you have a fresh cut on the base, place the tree in a bucket, tree stand or other container of water and make sure the base of the trunk is always submerged. If the base of the tree does dry out and seal up, you will have to re-cut the base to allow it to absorb sufficient water.

Remember that cooler temperatures and higher humidity will prolong the life of the tree. If possible, close heat vents in that room to keep it cooler. Keep the tree as far away as possible from heat vents, fireplaces, and out of south and west windows that receive the strongest sun.

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Urban Forestry Arboriculture Green Infrastructure Urban Stormwater Management

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