Whatever type of tree you choose, here are some tips to make selecting it easier:
- Know how tall your ceiling is before you set off shopping.
- Determine where the tree will be displayed. If it will be on view from all sides, you'll want a symmetrical trees. If it's going up against a wall, you can get by with a less than perfect side on your tree.
- Don't be embarrassed to take a tape measure or a pole with you as a gage. It's much more embarrassing to have a lopped off Christmas tree. A 6-10' plant stake marked at 1' intervals makes an excellent light-weight gage.
- If you are going to be walking through a tree farm to cut your own, bring some pieces of bright ribbon or string to mark possible choices as you look around. Remember to remove them when you've made your selection.
- Look for a tree with a straight base, about 6-8 inches long so you can make a fresh cut and still have room to fit it into your stand.
- Bring your own saw or shovel and a cord or rope to tie the tree to your vehicle.
Christmas Tree Safeguards
Keep the Tree as Fresh as You Can.
- The most important thing you can do is keep the tree watered. Cool temperatures will also help cut back on needle loss. If you are not brining your tree in right away, let it sit in a bucket of water outdoors or in a cool place inside.
- Try to keep it away from direct sunlight, winds and sources of heat like heaters, stoves or appliances.
- If your tree has been sitting for more than a day, make a fresh cut at the bottom at least 1 inch above the original cut. A smooth, clean cut will help the tree absorb water more readily. Then fill the reservoir with lukewarm water.
- Your tree begins losing water as soon as it is cut. In a heated room, a tree can absorb up to a quart of water a day, so check and fill the reservoir often. Once a tree is allowed to lose 20 percent of its moisture content, it will not be able to recover.
- While any tree will burn if it comes in direct contact with flames, Christmas trees become a fire hazard when their moisture content falls below 50 percent, able to ignite from contact with hot lights.
Follow some common sense rules to insure your safety during the holiday season.
- Keep the tree away from open flames and other sources of heat. Even some appliances, like your TV, can heat up sufficiently to be hazard.
- Keep tinsel away from the light sockets.
- Only purchase light sets that are approved by Underwriters' Laboratories and that are wired in parallel. Always check your lights before you put them on the tree. Replace tree lights with loose connections or exposed, brittle or cracked wires. Never leave the lights on unattended.
- Do not overload electrical circuits. If a fuse blows when you turn on your lights, it means that the line is overloaded or something is defective. Do not try to correct by replacing with a larger fuse. A typical string of lights with 36 bulbs adds 250 watts to the circuit. A 15-amp fuse handles a total of 1,500 watts.
And for Your Peace of Mind
To prevent staining, don't allow fallen needles, pitch or water from the reservoir to remain on carpets or upholstery.
Don't forget to recycle your cut tree. You could have it collected and hopefully turned into mulch. Or you could use it yourself as a temporary bird refuge and feeder in the yard. You could also cut the branches off and use them to cover and protect perennials in your garden.