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If buying a fresh, real Christmas tree is on your to-do list this weekend, I have some great tips for selecting the right one for your decorating style and budget.
There are also tips to help keep it looking great and safe the entire holiday season.
Enjoy this wonderful time of the year!
1. Buy from a Local Christmas Tree Farm
This may come as a shock, but most real Christmas trees are cut down in October and placed in cold storage until they are shipped in November to major retail stores.
It has to be that way in order to provide such a large amount of trees to the market in such a short amount of time.
However, if you are looking for the freshest tree that will last and have the fewest needles dropping in your home, you want to purchase from a local tree farm.
A local tree farm doesn’t have to cut their trees a month in advance to provide service to a large market.
They can cut their trees as needed to provide exactly what is needed for the local market.
2. Cut Your Own
When you are at your local tree farm you can’t get any fresher than cutting it yourself.
It’s just a reality that a tree will be so much more fragrant if it’s fresh-cut.
Which Type of Real Christmas Tree is Best For Me?
SCOTCH PINE: One of the most commonly cut Christmas trees in the U.S. It has short needles about 1 inch in length. It holds its needles well throughout the Christmas season. Has a slight pine scent. Strong branches hold ornaments and decorations well. Generally a very inexpensive cut tree.
WHITE PINE: The white pine has long (2.5-5 inches), soft, blue-green needles. The branches are flexible and soft, so they aren’t recommended for heavy ornaments or lots of decorations. The needles have a strong pine scent. The white pine is very common and is used to create a country, rustic motif. Moderately priced.
DOUGLAS FIR: The Douglas-fir has short, soft needles that are dark green to blue-green in color. It’s a quality tree that holds ornaments well and has good needle retention. Generally has a full shape with plenty of sturdy branches for ornaments and decorations. The needles have a slightly sweet, orange scent. It’s one of the primary Christmas tree species sold in the U.S. It is considered a moderate to a premium-priced tree.
FRASER FIR: The Fraser fir is a premium fresh-cut Christmas tree. It has dark blue-green needles and classic, well-defined branching and shape. The scent is soft and pleasant. It’s often used in farmhouse and vintage-inspired Christmas decor. Another primary Christmas tree species sold in the U.S.
How to Care for Real Christmas Trees & Make Them Last
- The tree should have a fresh cut across the base removing about an inch of trunk. If the tree is pre-cut and the lot doesn’t do this for you as a courtesy, then you will have to do this at home. This removes clogged pores that prevent the tree from absorbing water and will make the tree retain its needles longer.
- When considering a place for the tree, avoid areas near heat sources such as fireplaces, hot air ducts, direct sunlight, wood stoves, etc. as these will dry out the needles and can pose a fire hazard.
- Set the stand in the spot you have chosen. Use a stand that has a large water reservoir.
- Consider using a plastic “tree removal bag” at this time to make removing the tree at the end of the season much cleaner.
- Simply place a “tree bag” over the stand before inserting the tree. The trunk of the tree fits through the hole of the bag and into the tree stand and into the water. When it is time to remove the tree, pull the bag up over the tree to catch needles and prevent them from dropping throughout the house.
- Next, place the tree in the stand. The tree may absorb up to a gallon of water on the first day, so replenish the reservoir as needed.
- Check the reservoir daily to make sure the water level doesn’t go below the base of the tree trunk. This is the key to keeping the tree hydrated throughout the holiday season. If the cut edge of the tree dries out, it will hamper the tree’s ability to absorb water.
- Before decorating, inspect all extension cords and lights for fraying or damage. Dispose of these and don’t use them.
- Turn off lights at bedtime or when the tree is unattended.
- If the needles become dry and brittle, remove the tree from the home immediately as it poses a fire hazard.
- Check your local municipality for Christmas tree recycling programs after the holiday season.