One of the most exciting Holiday traditions in our house is heading out to one of our local farms here in Chilliwack and picking out our Christmas Tree.
The tree signifies the beginning of the season for us and as a Landscaper I tend to take the tree choice rather seriously. Looking for a tree that is in good health and will be able to last the whole season inside without issue. Nothing worse than a withered tree, dropped needles and weakened branches as the big day arrives. Not to mention the fire risk of a tree that has gone past it’s time.
So as I head out to pick our our tree with my family I thought I would share a few tips on how to select your tree. Regardless of where you buy it, there are some important tips you should consider before you select your tree.
- Know your trees; pines and firs have soft needles and are better for families with smaller children. Spruce trees have much hardier needles, but those needles are sharp and can hurt when you come in contact with them.
- Freshness is key; bend a needle in half with your fingers. Firs should snap Pines should bend. Reach into the tree and grab the inside of the branch, pull your hand towards you, a few needles in your hand is normal, a lot of needles in your hand – keep looking for a different tree, especially if it is early in the season.
- some trees will darken and even go a grey when the start to dry out.
You’ve picked you tree, now it’s time to head home. be sure to secure that tree to your vehicle with proper tie downs. You may even want to tarp it if your going a long distance or on a highway or freeway to protect it from the elements. Getting it home safe is half the battle!
Setting Up Your Tree
- Regardless of whether you have purchased a fresh cut, pre cut or live tree there are some very important care techniques that you need to do to ensure the health of your tree.
- If you have purchased a cut tree, be sure to freshen the trunk by cutting off about 1/2 an inch at the bottom, to open up the tree to take on water and keep those needles fresh and holding needles!
- Have your stand pre-prepared before you go get your tree, so you can get that tree in water as soon as you get it home.
- Measure your roof and ad the height of your tree stand before you head out – nothing worse than getting home to find out the tree is to tall or big for the space.
- Cool is key: All those pictures of trees next to the fireplace with a roaring fire are just a tree disaster waiting to happen. Be sure to have your tree in a cool place away from heat sources. Not only is this a safety issue, but also will help the longevity of your tree.
- Keep your tree watered: The first few days the tree will take on more water as the new cut absorbs moisture. If you have a live tree, bringing it inside tends to make them thirsty. So be sure to check water 2x a day – make a habit of doing it morning and evening. One tip I have is to put a protective barrier between the based on your tree stand or container and the floor. That way you can avoid water damage to your flooring.
- If you can – secure your tree to a wall, you can use transparent fishing line and tie it mid tree to keep it from being unbalanced. Not a bad idea if you have little ones or pets that might be tempted to rock the tree.
Stands / Containers
Tree stands are not what they used to be. There are so many great products on the market that keep your tree secure and upright. Take a look at a few on the market and see if maybe it is time to upgrade your stand.
Here are a few options:
Santa’s Solution Extreme Tree is a great stand that is easy to use and will have your tree set up in less than 5 minutes.
Home Depot Carry’s this 1 gal. Large Tree Stand. It is easy to use and has a foot lever that helps with easy set up. The manufacturer says 2 minute set up! That fact that it holds a gallon of water is also a great feature…making it easier to keep that tree fresh!
Need something even bigger! check out the 2.5 gallon XXL Tree Stand. One of the more pricier ones on the market, but definitely worth the money if you are looking at a having a large tree.
Happy tree hunting everyone! Merry Christmas from all of us here at Landscape Away!