Christmas tree imageThe tradition of setting up and decorating a Christmas tree and decorating it is one many enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you with care for cut and/or living trees.

Cut Tree Tips:
1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.
2. Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
3. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.
4. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
5. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
6. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
7. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, water can still be present in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
8. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.
9. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree becomes dry, remove it from the house.

Safety Tips:
1. Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight).
2. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
3. Do not overload electrical circuits.
4. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
Living trees are usually purchased as containerized trees grown in pots or as “balled and burlapped” (B&B) trees with a field-dug root ball bundled in burlap or other fabric. Containerized trees are usually smaller and target the “tabletop” Christmas tree market. Following use as Christmas trees, they are planted into the landscape.

Live Tree Tips:
1. The root ball or soil should be kept slightly damp but not flooded. Wrap the root ball of a balled tree in plastic or place in a tub while it is in the house.
2. Live trees may be decorated, but with care. If lights are used, they must not give off any heat.
3. Do not remove the tree directly from a warm house out into freezing temperatures. Instead, move to a sheltered area first for several days.
4. If the ground is unfrozen, the tree may be replanted. The spot to be dug should be mulched to prevent freezing. Plant it as soon as possible.
5. Do not remove the burlap and strapping (unless it is plastic). This keeps the root ball solid and secure. In the instance of a plastic cover, cut the cord and roll down the plastic at least half way prior to planting. Tap the tree container of a potted tree and remove prior to planting. Do not attempt to remove soil from the root system. Earth removed from the original hole should be back-filled around the root ball. Mulch heavily over the top of the planted root ball to prevent it from freezing. Water only as needed: a flooded tree may not survive.
6. Stake the trees to prevent the wind from tipping or damaging them during the first growing season.
7. Living Trees are VERY heavy and bulky. A six foot tall balled and burlapped tree will weigh as much as 250 pounds.
We hope these tips are helpful and would love to see your pictures! Please post them on our Facebook Page From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!