Christmas Holidays & Occasions

Caring for a Live Christmas Tree

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My family always had a real Christmas tree when I was growing up. My dad, a retired fire chief, taught us the proper way to care for a live tree.

When looking for a tree, check for freshness by grabbing a branch and pulling along it. If any needles come off, it is too dry and could become a fire hazard.

Do not have the tree seller cut the bottom of the tree for you. When you get it home, you don’t want to let it sit for too long before getting it into water, so prepare your tree and stand right away. It is essential to have a good tree stand when using a live tree, as this will help ensure that the tree gets water.

I like to give the tree a good shake to release any dead needles and any bugs before bringing it into the house. I prep the tree by cutting off enough of the lowest branches to give good access to the base of the trunk. I then saw off at least 1 inch of the trunk just before putting it in the stand. A fresh cut makes it easier for the tree to draw the water up. After cutting, get it into the stand quickly so it can get water right away.

Remember that you need to keep an eye on the water level. A really good, healthy tree will need to be watered 2-3 times a day for the first few days. If you keep it well watered, it will last for over a month before drying out. After
Christmas, I check daily for loose needles. If the tree gets very dry I go ahead and take it down, but usually we can wait until New Years Day.

Another way to check for dryness is to pull off a needle, twist it to check for flexibility, then scratch it open and check for moisture and fragrance. A tree which is dry enough to be a hazard will have lost flexibility and moisture.

Keep the tree lights off when you’re not actually in the room. I recommend completely unplugging the lights rather than just switching them off.

Sheri Payne, Guest
Visit Sheri’s blog at http://kauhale.blogspot.com/

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