Decorating Christmas trees during the holiday season is a tradition that many families enjoy. Most trees have been grown on tree farms for five to twelve years before being cut, however live trees that can be planted later are becoming more popular. Keeping both types of Christmas trees fresh and safe is important for the enjoyment they bring.
City arborists offer some important reminders:
- Check for freshness by running your hand along the branches. If the needles are flexible and stay on the branch, the tree is fresh. If large numbers of needles fall off readily, the tree is too dry and shouldn’t be picked. Also, if you squeeze the buds between your fingers and they are sticky, the tree is fresh.
- Use an old blanket or tarp if hauling the tree on the roof of your car. This will keep it from drying out further, and will protect your car from sticky sap. Take along some cord or rope to tie it down securely for the ride home.
- Keep the tree outside and in the shade until you’re ready to decorate it. Cut off 1/2 to 1 inch of the trunk and place it in fresh water. Use a sturdy tree stand that can hold a gallon of water or more.
- Choose a location that’s protected from high traffic and heat sources like vents, fireplaces, sunny windows, or heaters.
- Check the water level in your stand every day and keep it full. A plastic bag placed on the floor under the stand will keep little spills from ruining your floors or carpet.
- Check for freshness the same way as for cut trees, and follow the same precautions for tree location.
- Make sure the tree has a big enough root ball to support its size. Ask about hardiness for your area before purchasing the tree to ensure its survival.
- Place the tree in a large bucket and keep the root ball moist, but not saturated.
- When transplanting it to your yard, make sure you have a sunny site, far from overhead power lines.
- Be sure to water the tree for a few days, and also during dry periods.