For many of us, the centerpiece of our winter holiday is the Christmas Tree, that jewel of spruce, fir or pine bedecked with ornaments, lighting up the cold winter nights. We at Warner’s Nursery want to make sure that you not only pick the right tree for you, but have these helpful hints so that your tree stays lush and beautiful throughout the holiday.
But before we get into the choosing and care of a “real” Christmas Tree, let’s address the (plastic) elephant in the room – the fake Christmas tree. For those of you concerned about having a real Christmas tree and its effects on the environment, here’s a couple of things to consider.
Many “fake” trees use polyvinyl chloride in their manufacturing, which produces carcinogens during manufacturing and in disposal.
By contrast, when you get your recyclable and biodegradable real tree, it most likely has been grown on a special plantation, supporting local farmers with a sustainable crop. Your tree has been giving back to Mother Earth for about a decade prior to your purchase, providing oxygen and a habitat for small birds and animals. And if you opt for a tree that you will plant in your yard after the holidays, the environmental benefits will continue.
Which leads to your first major decision: cut tree or living one? There are benefits to each; you can enjoy your cut tree longer in the house (a live tree really should only be indoors about a week). On the other hand, a live tree can be planted and enjoyed outdoors for years to come.
Here’s some tips for each one:
While Christmas trees are usually available the week of Thanksgiving, people often hold off purchasing a cut one until closer to the holiday, afraid it will dry out before Christmas. A few simple steps, however, will ensure that your trees stay fresh throughout the season.
Before you place your tree indoors, spray it with CloudCover, a harmless, transparent film that reduces water loss, keeping tree needles fresh and moist.
Make a fresh cut of at least a half inch off the trunk of the tree to allow the tree to take up water. Your tree needs to be set up immediately after making this fresh cut (within 15 minutes at the most!) If the trunk is not immediately and constantly immersed in water, it will seal off and not be able to take up water.
Once the stand is mounted and your tree is properly situated (far away from heater ducts and fireplaces), fill the water tray with lukewarm water. Check the water level in your tree stand daily, ensuring the trunk is immersed in water. You can also add a preservative like Keeps-It-Green to the water to keep the tree fresher longer.
For living trees, proper care is even more important. First you need to acclimate your tree. We suggest placing the tree in partial sunlight for one week prior to taking indoors. Water the tree daily. The day before you bring it into the house, hose it down with water to remove dust and insects. Again, we suggest also spraying the tree with CloudCover to protect against dehydration.
Once inside, set your tree in a large tray to catch overflow and protect your floors. It should be situated close to a window for light and far away from heating ducts or fireplaces that could sap its moisture.
Continue to water your tree daily, but not quite as deeply as you did when it was outside (you don’t want your living tree to be standing in a tray full of water!) Add a few ice cubes to keep the tree cool and prevent it from breaking dormancy. As we mentioned earlier, your living Christmas tree can only remain indoors for about seven days; otherwise, it might break dormancy and then will not survive outdoors.
After that week, place your tree in a shady spot and out of the wind until you’re ready to plant. We suggest the north or east side of your home, as trees can be wind-burned and are prone to sun scald if left on the south or west side of a house.
Water the tree thoroughly immediately after transferring outdoors, then once a day for the first week, then once a week thereafter. If the tree is to be left in a pot temporarily (for example, if the ground is frozen), water every three to five days, but remember that you should plant the tree as soon as possible.
Warner’s will be offering both cut and live trees later this month, in addition to fresh wreaths, garland and poinsettias. We have pre-ordering, delivery and disposal services available and would love to talk to you about your plans for the holidays and what we can do to make this an even more magical season for you and your family.