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  Choosing a Christmas Tree
  December 11th, 2004

Fresh-Cut Christmas Trees
Choosing a Tree:

  • First decide where it will go and measure the space… then measure again. Don’t forget to measure your stand as well.
  • Make sure that the tree you choose will fit in your space and inside your stand. Whittling the sides of a tree’s trunk to make it fit a too-small stand will interfere with its water intake, as well as making the tree less stable. Also check to be sure the tree has a tall enough ‘handle’ (the area bare of branches at the bottom) that you won’t need to trim bottom branches off to put it in the tree stand. Allow a couple of extra inches so that you can make a fresh cut.
  • The most important consideration in choosing a cut tree (outside of finding one you like) is to find a fresh tree. Some techniques:
  • Bend several needles. If they bend and bounce back, the tree is probably fresh. If they break or don’t bounce back, it probably isn’t.
  • Shake the tree or bounce it on the ground to see how many green needles drop. Brown needles will fall naturally but if green ones fall like rain, the tree may be dried out.

      Caring for Your Fresh-Cut Tree

    • If you will have to carry your tree home on top of your car or in some other exposed place, bring along a tarp to wrap it up and protect it from wind damage, and tie it securely.
    • When you get the tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk (cut off about 1/2″ perpendicular to the trunk). If you will not be setting it up immediately, put it in a pail of water and store it away from heat and sunlight.
    • Before putting the tree inside, you may want to give it a good shaking to dislodge any loose needles.
    • Also be sure your stand will hold enough water. You’ll need, daily, about one quart per inch of trunk diameter (a 2″ wide trunk would take a half gallon per day). You probably won’t want to be adding water more than once per day, so make sure your stand holds enough!
    • Tip: the various additives people recommend putting in the water (such as molasses, aspirin — or whatever) don’t help. Just plain water is all you need.
    • Try to display the tree in a cooler part of the room, away from heat sources such as direct sunlight. If you like having your neighbors see your lit tree at night and really want to put it next to a window, pull the curtains in the daytime.

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