Selecting Your Tree
• Be sure you know what size (height and width) you need before heading to the retail lot. Smaller trees can make a great tabletop display for smaller apartments or condos.
• The fresher the real holiday tree is, the longer it will last in your home. To check for freshness, do the “Smell and Snap” test.
• Smell: Give the branch a gentle crush and smell the needles. If it has a wonderful Holiday tree fragrance, it’s a fresh tree. Trees with a musty odor will not be as fresh.
• Snap: Remove a needle from the trees and bend it between your fingers. If it snaps, similar to a carrot, the tree is fresh. If the needle is pliable and bends, it may mean the tree isn’t as fresh.
• Look for other indicators of dryness or deterioration: excessive needle loss, discolored foliage, and wrinkled bark. A good rule-of-thumb is, when in doubt about the freshness of a tree, select another one. If none of the trees on the lot look fresh, go to another lot.
• Involve the whole family in the selecting and plan fun things for everyone to do during the trip.
With the proper care, the perfect tree that your family has selected will stay green and healthy throughout the holidays, minimizing clean up and maximizing the joy of your holiday. Here are a few tips.
Keeping it Green
• Make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree to open up the pores, which have been clogged by sap. Cut off at least one-half inch. If you do not make a fresh cut, the tree will not be able to drink water.
• After the cut is made, put the tree in water as soon as possible. The longer the time between when the tree is given a fresh cut and when it is put into water, the less ability the tree has to absorb water.
• Place the tree in a sturdy stand, which will hold at least one gallon of water. Fill with plain water – no additives necessary.
• If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, it should be stored in a bucket of warm water on a cool porch or patio away from wind and sun in warm climates, and protected from freezing temperatures and wind in cold climates.
• An average tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed by the tree unless another fresh cut is made. So don’t forget to add water every day.
• The fragrance of a real holiday tree is one of the most enjoyable features of a farm-grown tree. To keep your house smelling like the holidays, reach into the center of the tree and crush a few needles to release the wonderful holiday tree smell.