AUBURN, Ala.- Finding the perfect Christmas tree doesn’t have to be difficult. Christmas, and the holiday season in general, can be a stressful time for many people. There are holiday parties to attend, presents to buy, meals to make and decorations to set out.
Finding the perfect Christmas tree for your home should not be as stressful as some make it out to be. Norman Haley of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has some great advice for finding the perfect tree.
Selecting a Christmas Tree
Common Christmas tree species grown in the South and available at ‘cut your own’ farms are Leyland cypress, Virginia pine, Arizona cypress, Eastern red cedar and white pine. Trees often found at precut vendors include: Fraser fir, Douglas fir and blue spruce.
Haley said the best time to get your tree depends on if you want to buy a precut tree, or cut down your own. If you cut your own tree, Haley said to plan ahead on when to cut it.
“Expect most trees to last a maximum of three weeks after cutting. After that, the tree’s needles begin to shed and lose fragrance.”
If you buy a precut tree, Haley said the timing can be difficult because you don’t know exactly when the tree was cut.
“The best advice is to shake the tree and run your hand down the branches. Very few green needles should come off,” Haley said.
Haley added to make sure the trunk is reasonably straight and that there is only one trunk. “Trees with dual or split trunks can be difficult to put in a stand.”
Right Spot, Right Tree
Measure the height and width of the room before purchasing or cutting down a tree so you know how much space your home has for a tree.. When buying a precut tree, the taller the tree, the higher the cost.
Pay attention to branch stiffness when picking out your tree.
“Heavy ornaments require stiff branches. Arizona cypress, eastern red cedar, blue spruce, Fraser fir and Virginia pine have stiffer branches,” Haley added.
Once you’ve found the perfect tree and brought it home, cut the stump again and place it in water.
“Check the water daily. Fresh cut trees will absorb a great deal of water in the first few days after cutting. This prolongs fragrance and keeps the needles from shedding,” Haley added.
Haley reminds tree buyers to not let the tree linger too long after the holidays are over. “It will begin to shed needles, and dry branches and becomea fire hazard.”
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