The holiday season is fast approaching. Soon trees will be available at local farms and retail stores and to provide the best care, we have tips for your Christmas tree.
Native-grown varieties commonly used as Christmas trees in the southeast include such varieties as Fraser firs, Leyland cypresses, Norway spruces, Eastern white pines, and red cedars. Many people like the beauty, smell, and ambiance of a live tree. But a live tree requires more love and care than an artificial one. With proper care, your real tree should last about five weeks. So if you plan to go on the tree hunt in early December, your tree should still look fresh and perky on Christmas morning. Here are some tips to help your tree stay beautiful and healthy through the holiday season.
Care Tips For Your Christmas Tree
- If you purchase a pre-cut tree, cut off the bottom of the trunk at least one inch when you get home. Precut trees will have sealed their original cut and cannot uptake water without a new cut.
- Put the tree in water immediately. The longer it is without water, the more damage can happen. A rule of thumb for the amount of water is one quart for every inch of the trunk’s diameter.
- Never let your water run dry. You should check the water level at least twice daily for the first week. Once a day after that is sufficient. Dry trees are not only ugly, but they’re also dangerous. (Not to scare you, but from 2015-2019 U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires started by Christmas trees. It can take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to burn down.)
We’re careful to share this as a tip because there’s no scientific proof that this helps. Some people put aspirin, lemon-lime soda, sugar, or vodka in their tree’s water because they believe it allows the tree to better uptake the water.
Let’s not stop here. We have more good practices to share for having a healthy, beautiful holiday tree.
When choosing your tree, ensure the tree isn’t dry. To test, bend a needle about halfway. If it snaps, it’s dry. A fresh pine will bend. Another way to check is gently grabbing the inside branches and pulling them towards you. The needles should stay on the tree if it’s healthy and irrigated. Very few needles should come off.
The Tree At Home
Once at home, set the tree up away from heat sources. Turn the decorative tree lights off when you’re not home or asleep. Be mindful of the internal temperature. You don’t want the tree to feel like it’s in a furnace.
Once Christmas has come and gone, you’ll want to dispose of your tree sooner than later. Remember, a dry tree is a fire hazard. But before removing it from your home, place a large garbage bag or tree bag over the tree to prevent sap and pine needles from making a mess on your floor. Many communities offer curbside pickup after the holiday, and sometimes, there are special events for you to take and dispose of your tree. Your local recycling center is also a great place to take your tree.
If you want to get creative with your tree instead of disposing of it, we have some tips for that too.
- Create a habitat. Sink pieces of the tree in a pond for a refuge and a feeding area for fish.
- Carve something. Make an ornament for next year out of this year’s wood, or you could try your hand at a birdhouse.
- Mulch. Chop the trunk and branches to make great mulch for your garden.
And here’s one parting fun fact for Georgia homeowners. According to Georgiagrown.com, for every Christmas tree cut in Georgia, five are planted in its place. This is one of the reasons Georgia is consistently ranked the Top Forestry State in the Nation.
Even though we don’t sell Christmas trees or have a Christmas tree farm, we are tree and shrub experts, and we hope we were able to provide some helpful tips for you to have a beautiful and safe holiday. If we can help you with any of your outdoor trees, feel free to reach out to The Nice Guys.