Selecting and care of Christmas tree : Yard Gardener

Choosing and care of Christmas tree

In response to the Nationwide Christmas Tree Affiliation (, 25 to 30 million actual Christmas bushes are bought every year.   Of these with actual bushes, about three out of 4 purchased them at shops, the others minimize their very own at a tree farm—a development that has been growing lately.  For those who get a tree, both method, this 12 months, comply with just a few suggestions in selecting and look after longest life and security inside.  You might have a selection of a number of tree species.

Spruce bushes have single needles one-third to 1 inch lengthy, connected to the twigs by peg-like projections.  The needle is four-sided.  (You possibly can really feel the edges by rolling it in your fingers.)  Spruce is mostly prickly when rubbing the needles, and so, for that reason, should not the primary selection of many tree consumers. You might even see Norway, Colorado, or white spruce.

The balsam fir additionally has single needles, however they aren’t fairly as prickly, nor are you able to roll the needles in your fingers as with spruces.  Their darkish inexperienced needles are flat, and longer than these of the spruce– about three-fourths to 1 and one-half inches lengthy.  Balsam fir is without doubt one of the commonest and favored decisions within the Northeast.

Many growers contemplate a fair more sensible choice than the balsam fir to be the Fraser fir.  It is rather related, having a nice scent, however branches are a bit extra sturdy (higher for heavy ornaments), and switch barely upward.  It grows naturally at increased elevations of the Appalachian mountains.  Chances are you’ll discover one other sensible choice– the Canaan fir—which shares the traits of each Fraser and balsam firs, however could also be greatest thought of as a sort of balsam fir.     
One other species, the Douglas fir, has flat needles of comparable size to these of the balsam fir.  The buds are pointed on the Douglas fir however rounded on the balsam fir.  It’s a common selection in western states.  

Most pines have two to 5 needles sure collectively on the base by a sheath.  The needles are about two to 5 inches lengthy. White pines typically don’t maintain their needles as lengthy indoors as another species, whereas Scotch Pine is without doubt one of the extra widespread decisions, particularly within the South and the Midwest. Relying on the area of North America, chances are you’ll discover different decisions reminiscent of jap purple cedar, Black Hills spruce, Ponderosa pine, concolor (white) fir, noble fir, and Korean fir. 

Earlier than you even go away dwelling, measure the house your tree will occupy—each peak and width.  Then take a tape measure with you.      Timber at all times appear to look smaller within the nice outside than after we get them into our properties!  This easy step can get monetary savings shopping for a tree too giant, and additional chopping as soon as the tree is inside.

Additionally, earlier than leaving dwelling pack a blanket or tarp to wrap the tree in the event you can’t match it inside your automobile, in addition to sufficient rope to tie securely to your automobile.  Some tree farms have netting sleeves to slide your bushes into, in addition to twine.  A pair of labor gloves is helpful, particularly in the event you’ll be chopping your individual, as is a hand noticed (many tree farms will present saws).

These selecting to “minimize their very own tree” at a tree plantation might get monetary savings, as these growers typically ask a hard and fast value for any tree.  Generally a sleigh experience or espresso and doughnuts at a warming hut can be found. Some corporations permit you to tag your tree early to chop simply earlier than the vacations.  Good buys additionally may be discovered at shops, although costs are often increased as another person has offered the labor and transportation.  Store early for a wider collection of bushes, and for recent bushes that may last more.

How are you going to simply verify for freshness?  First, pinch the needles.  In the event that they bend quite than break, the tree is recent.  Run your hand alongside the branches to see if the needles keep on or many fall off.  Or bounce the stump finish of the tree on the bottom.  If too many needles fall off, select one other tree.  One other approach to verify for freshness is to really feel the bottom of the tree.  Whether it is sticky with resin, the tree was not too long ago minimize and will get up effectively all through the vacations.

Upon getting your tree dwelling, particularly in the event you didn’t minimize your individual, instantly place the bottom in a big bucket of heat water.  Heat water is absorbed quicker than chilly. Analysis has proven that plain faucet water is greatest for bushes to final longest.  House concoctions reminiscent of bleach, aspirin, lemon-lime soda, and lots of preservatives really might shorten tree life.

It’s helpful to recut a half inch off the bottom to open up the water vessels within the trunk earlier than placing it into water.  One to 2 inches minimize off just isn’t wanted as typically really useful (until that you must shorten the tree measurement), neither is an angled minimize.  Don’t trim sides off the bottom of the trunk as that’s the place the tree takes up its water.  

Get a stand that may maintain the trunk and your tree measurement.  Use a stand that holds at the least a quart of water for small bushes, a gallon for big ones, as a freshly minimize evergreen can drink that a lot water every day.  Typically, determine on a quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter on the base.  So a trunk 4 inches throughout ideally ought to have a stand holding 4 quarts (gallon) of water.    

In case your tree doesn’t begin “ingesting” water instantly, and also you adopted all the following pointers, it may very well be as a result of the tree hasn’t adjusted from the outside and began to dry out in the event you minimize your individual.  Or, if precut and recent, it could not take in a lot water till it begins to dry out.    

Select a location away from warmth sources (warmth vents, radiators, wooden stoves, sunny home windows) and doorways.  Tall bushes might should be secured with wire to partitions and ceilings for help.  I’ve a bookcase affixed securely to the wall that I tie my tall bushes to.

Remember to verify bushes each day and add water as wanted.  Heated rooms, particularly with compelled air warmth, can dry out bushes quickly.  Take into account fireplace hazards of dwell bushes indoors typically are overrated by the media.  In response to knowledge from the Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation, each dwell and synthetic Christmas bushes are ignited in just one tenth of 1 p.c (0.1 p.c) of all dwelling fires.  Timber which are saved recent, utilizing the following pointers, and utilizing electrical lights with permitted and protected wiring, are very troublesome to ignite.  The principle downside with dry bushes is a shorter life with needles dropping.  Decide a recent tree, and hold it recent, and also you’ll get the enjoyment you anticipate over the vacations.


Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor Emeritus
College of Vermont    

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