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Buying a real Christmas tree this year? Consider these tips from the American Christmas Tree Association
For many people it’s not Christmas without a real Christmas tree and the smell of evergreen in the house. The American Christmas Tree Association offers the following tips for selecting your tree to help ensure it’s healthy and will provide beauty and joy – not problems – for the holiday season:
Check for freshness
Examine the needles. The needles should stay attached to the branch, and not come off in your hand. You can also grasp the tree by the trunk and tap the base of it against the ground. If a cloud of needles falls to the ground, then the tree is well on its way to being dead.
The needles and branches should also be flexible when bent. If they break or don’t spring back into shape, then the tree is drying out.
Another way to tell if a tree is still fresh and lively is by smelling the branches and trunk. If it still has that sappy, earthy smell, then the tree will probably last for several more weeks. If it’s odorless, then you should give it a pass.
Check for is the presence of pests
Check especially for beetles, mites and aphids. Although not dangerous, these pests can trigger allergic reactions in some sensitive people, and are generally are not welcome house guests during the holiday season (or anytime!)
Erecting the tree at home
Make sure you have a saw at home. When you buy a pre-cut real tree the base of the trunk will have dried out and died. If you try to place the tree as-is into a stand and water it, the tree will be unable to absorb moisture and end up dying within a few days. Thus, it’s necessary to cut about 1/2 to 1 inch of wood from the base of the trunk. Make sure that you have access to a handsaw at home (or you have a neighbor who does and will let you borrow the saw.)
Additional tips from other professionals include:
- Using a tape measure to prepare for buying your real Christmas tree. Measure the available space in your home for the location where you plan to place your tree. Measure both the height and width of available space. Also consider and measure the door frame of where you will be bringing in your tree to avoid damage the door frame if the tree is not bundled up.
- Move any furniture in the path of where you will be bringing in your tree beforehand to avoid injuries caused by tripping and falling.
- Immediately clean up needles and twigs that may have fallen off the tree during transport and placement of your tree. These items can become a slip-and-fall hazard on tile and hardwood surfaces and are especially hazardous if eaten by pets and young children.
And, of course, remember to place your tree away from heat sources and never burn candles on your tree. Most of all, enjoy the holiday season with a safe and healthy tree.