Choosing the Perfect New England Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Shopping Tips – Visiting a New England Tree Farm – Favorite Species
The holiday season is upon us. You can feel it in the cool crisp air. So now it is time to decide if, when, where, and how you will get the perfect Holiday Tree.
Evergreen Christmas trees have been brought into homes and decorated during the holiday season for more than 500 years. Every year, more than 30 million trees are used in households across the United States. Live Christmas trees have an attractiveness, fragrance, and tradition that cannot be matched .
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When choosing the “perfect Christmas tree,” it is helpful to know where the tree will stand. It is important to choose a cool location out of direct sunlight in a room where it can be seen and enjoyed by your family. Make sure that there is an electrical outlet nearby. If the tree will go in a corner or if it will be seen from all sides, try to determine the width of the space needed. Measure your ceiling height, leave room for your tree topper and at least six or eight inches from it to the ceiling.
Whether you are going to use a live tree or a cut tree, there are a few important things you should know about selecting and caring for your Christmas tree: Don’t get your tree any sooner than you have to, and then keep it in an unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it until you are ready to decorate it.
The corner Christmas tree lot is popular and convenient for people who have limited time. Trees should have a healthy, green appearance. Needles should appear fresh flexible and should not come off in your hand. Lift a cut tree a couple of inches off the ground and let it drop on the stump. A few dried, inner needles may fall, but if any of the outer, green needles should fall, forget that tree.
There are three varieties of trees that are most common:
SPRUCE TREES - Spruce Trees are known for their beautiful Christmas Tree shape and dark green needles. The needles have the poorest retention of all the trees, but these are very aromatic varieties.
PINE TREES - The Red Pine can retain its needles for about 5-7 weeks and has long flexible needles that are generally darker green in color. The White Pine tree has blue colored needles. Scotch Pines have stiff bluish-green needles and needles do not last quite as long as the Red Pine.
FIR TREES - Needles are blunt ended and soft to the touch. Firs have excellent needle retention, so they are often shipped all over the United States.
Without a doubt, the freshest Christmas tree will be one that is still living. Many families traditionally buy a living tree from a nursery each year, and then plant it. Living trees take extra care, or they may not survive to be planted in the yard. Select a tree that fits your needs, in size and shape. If the tree is not already in a planter, the rootball should be set into a bucket or container, to protect the roots. Never lift the tree by the stem.
Living trees can only be kept indoors for up to ten days. Before you bring it into a heated room, it should be conditioned to help lessen the shock to the plant, by keeping it in the garage or other unheated area, for a few days. When you bring it indoors, set it in a cool location, out of direct sunlight, and away from any heat sources. Watering is essential. Moisten the soil completely before you bring the tree indoors. Keep it moist the entire time that the plant is kept in the home.
Cut-your-own tree farms give your family the opportunity to enjoy mother nature, fresh air, and to spend some good quality time together. It is the kind of experience from which childhood memories are made.
Tree farms are, often times, family-owned and operated. Many times, they will enhance the atmosphere by providing a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride for your family. Many farms will allow you to pre-select and tag your tree early in the season, which, by the way, gives you another excuse to take a ride out in the country.
When you bring the cut tree into the house, cut 1/2 inch off the base of the trunk before you place it in the tree stand. This allows the tree to drink properly. Do not let the water dip below the trunk of the tree or you will have to reopen the sealed trunk. It is vital to replenish your tree’s water daily. The average tree will take up to a gallon the first day, then a quart every day after. A well-watered tree will be most fragrant and hold its needles much longer, keeping you from vacuuming dead needles repeatedly.
Some important safety tips: A well-hydrated tree is not a fire hazard. Be sure to keep your tree away from any source of heat like fireplaces, radiators, and television sets.
Make sure that all of your light cords are in good shape. If the insulation on the wiring has become brittle or cracked, discard it. Be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or any time you leave the house and never overload electrical circuits.
Have a safe, happy and healthy Holiday Season!
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