It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go. There is still something very nostalgic about having a live Christmas tree. Popular varieties are Scotch Pine, White Pine, and Balsam Fir. Learn how to choose and care for the perfect tree, safety tips for your live Christmas tree and how to recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays.
How to Choose the Perfect Christmas Tree:
- First – know the final destination of your tree – determine the height required and width needed, give it space to stretch out
- A freshly cut, well hydrated Christmas tree should have the following characteristics:
- A healthy green colour & is fragrant – indicates it has maintained its water content
- Strong looking – not ‘wilty’
- The needles stay on when you gently pass you hand down a branch
- The needles are pliable, they don’t snap when you lightly bend them
- The outer needles stay on when you pick the tree up and gently tap it on its stump – inner needles will always slough off, it’s part of their natural cycle
- Check for a stump that is at least 8-10” long to give you wiggle room for trimming
- Look for any insects
7 Easy Care Tips for Your Christmas Tree:
Below are a few pointers for caring for a live Christmas tree:
- Store your tree outdoors until you are ready to decorate it
- Cut off about 1-2” from the base to open the pores which have been sealed off by the pitch or sap solidifying; and place it in a bucket of water that holds at least 4 litres or 1 gallon of water.
- Keep it in a sheltered location protected from sun & wind
- When you are ready to move it indoors, cut off another 1-2” and place it in a Christmas tree holder that again holds a minimum of 4 litres or 1 gallon of warm water – this encourages the sap to flow so the branches can re-hydrate
- Water every day, they may drink up to 4 litres or 1 gallon a day because bringing it indoors breaks its dormancy
- Keep the water level above the cut line of the stump or ideally you will need to re-cut that stump because the pores will seal – and you SO don’t want that to happen!! – set an alarm to remind yourself to water the tree if you have to
- The cooler the tree is, the longer it will last
- Keep it a good distance from sources of heat such as fireplaces, heat registers, wood stoves, baseboard heaters, etc
- An anti-transpirant spray may be helpful in extending the life of your tree by decreasing the moisture loss through the branches and needles
- Adding sugar, baking soda, bleach, etc to the water has no effect on extending the life of your tree – use clear water
Real Christmas Tree Safety Tips:
The possibility of your live Christmas tree going up in flames is a real and present danger.
Here are some safety tips to keep your live Christmas tree safe:
- Never use real candles
- Use non-flammable Christmas decorations
- Use LED lights – they stay cooler
- Turn off your Christmas lights when you are out of your house or sleeping – timers work really well!
How to Recycle a Christmas Tree
Remember to recycle your Christmas tree once you are done with it. Check the websites of your locality for details on Christmas tree recycling and pick up.
- For those of you in Strathcona County, instructions and more information can be found on the Strathcona County website