Choosing And Caring For A Christmas Tree

Here at the LawnEq Blog Site, we have been enjoying providing with tons of information about garden and lawn equipment as well as gardening and landscaping ideas. However, the one thing we haven’t offered is how to go about selecting and caring for a Christmas tree. As I write this Christmas is still about three weeks away. So hopefully we’re not too late in providing you with this timely information.

Christmas tree. (Courtesy: Magicjuan at flickr.com)

An interesting trivia fact of which you may not be aware is that according to the National Tree Association, 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are purchased per year. Three out of four trees are purchased from retail stores. The rest are cut down at tree farms.

When considering the purchase of a real live Christmas tree you should be focusing on its longevity as well as safety issues. We will supply you with a few tips that should help in displaying your Christmas tree in a prominent place in your home.

Species Of Trees Ideal As A Christmas Tree

You’re probably aware that there are a large number of trees that can pass as a Christmas tree. One popular choice is spruce trees. These trees feature single needles that are about a third to an inch long. They’re connected to the twigs of the tree with peg-like protrusions. Each needle has four sides that you can feel by rolling it between your fingers. The needles are prickly to the touch. As a result, many shoppers tend to select a different species.

White Spruce is another variety that works as a Christmas tree. This tree is also known as a Norway or Colorado Spruce.

Then there’s the balsam fir. This tree features single needles that are not as prickly as the spruce variety. The dark green needles of this tree are flat and longer than the spruce, measuring about three-fourths to an inch and a half long. Balsam fir is a variety that is favored by residents of the Northeast.

Growers of Christmas trees tend to favor the Fraser fir. It is similar to the balsam fir and emits a pleasant scent. However, the branches are a little sturdier, thus ideal for holding heavy ornaments. This tree grows at high elevations of the Appalachian Mountains.

Another good variety to consider for your Christmas tree is the Canaan fir. It has some of the same characteristics as the Fraser and balsam firs.

Another specie you may want to consider is the Douglas fir. It features flat needles like the balsam fir. The difference is that the buds are pointed on the Douglas fir and rounded on the balsam fir. Residents of western states seem to prefer this tree.

Of course, most pines are ideal for serving as a Christmas tree. For the most part, pines feature two to five needles that are bound together at the base by a sheath. The needles measure about 2 to 5 inches long. White pines don’t hold their needles long indoors, so you may want to avoid this specie if you don’t want to clean pine needles off the floor. Other species of pine tree to consider include Scotch, eastern red cedar, Black Hills spruce, Ponderosa pine, white fir, noble fir, and Korean fir.

Preparing To Shop For A Christmas Tree

It is advised that you just don’t go to a retail outlet or tree farm without doing some preparation when you’re ready to buy a tree. Choose a location for the tree that is away from a heat source or doorway. It’s suggested that you measure the space where you intend to place the tree including the height and width. Don’t forget to take the tape measure with you when you go shopping. This will assure that you don’t buy a tree that’s too large for the space, requiring you to perform some trimming. You may need to secure the tree to a wall and/or ceiling with wire for support.

It is also advised that you take a blanket or tarp with you to wrap the tree and some rope so that you can secure it to the roof of the car if it proves too big to transport inside your vehicle. If you decide to get your tree from a tree farm, then they will furnish you with netting sleeves in which to put your tree and some twine. If you expect to cut the tree down yourself or if you expect to handle the tree, it is advised that you wear work gloves. The tree farm will probably provide the hand saw that you can use to cut the tree. However, just in case they don’t, you may want to bring a saw with you. Call the tree farm in advance to find out if they supply saws.

You may not be aware that some tree farms offer trees for a fixed price regardless of the size or width of the tree. They may also serve coffee and doughnuts and even provide a sleigh ride to get you into the holiday mood. If you’re really energetic, you can visit the tree farm early and tag the tree you want and then come back later to cut and retrieve it.

If you intend to buy the tree from a retail outlet, then be prepared to pay a higher price. The higher price is because someone is offering the labor and transportation to cut and transport the tree and they expect to be paid for it. It’s advised that you shop early when there is a wider selection from which to choose. Also keep in mind that the fresher the tree the longer it lasts.

How To Select A Christmas Tree

When checking out trees for purchase, pinch the needles. If they bend and don’t break, then the tree is fresh. You should also run your hand along the branches of the tree to assure that the needles stay on and don’t fall off. If a lot of needles fall off, go to another tree. You can also feel the base of the tree to assure that it is sticky with resin. This shows that it was recently cut and should last through the holiday.

What To Do After You Bring The Tree Home

If you didn’t cut the tree yourself, then place its base in a large bucket of warm water. A tree absorbs warm water better than cold. Believe it or not, there have been studies that discovered that tap water assures a tree’s longevity. Do not put the tree into bleach, aspirin treated water, lemon-lime soda or preservative. They will actually shorten the life of the tree.

It is suggested that you cut a half-inch off the base of the tree as you prepare it for its stand. This action opens the water vessels in the trunk so that it can better absorb the water that’s in the stand.

Get a stand before hand that can hold the trunk. The stand should hold at least a quart of water for small trees, a gallon of water for large trees. A fresh cut evergreen can absorb as much as a gallon of water a day. Use a quart of water for each inch of trunk diameter at the base. So a trunk that is 4-inches across should get 4 quarts or a gallon of water per day. A freshly cut tree may not absorb much water until it begins to dry out.

Check the tree’s water supply daily and add water when needed. Christmas trees, for the most part, are safe from fire as long as they are kept fresh and that the electric lights that decorate it feature wire that is approved and safe. Make sure to keep the tree fresh and it will last through the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Lawneq.

(Source: pss.uvm.edu)

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.