2009-12-24 / Features

Caring For The Tree

Perhaps due to the the Christmas season essentially starting the day after Thanksgiving, more and more families now purchase their Christmas trees earlier than ever before. That means trees take increased effort to care for to ensure they make it to the big day. To be certain your tree holds up through the long Christmas season, consider the following tree care tips.

Trees, even healthy ones, will have their share of needle loss. However, if the tree is faded, if the bark on branches is wrinkled, or exterior needles fall off at even the most gentle touch, the tree is excessively dry. Be sure to keep the tree watered to avoid excessive dryness.

Cut trees will absorb water more readily from their stand if they are given a fresh cut prior to submerging the trunk. A tree that has not been freshly cut will still absorb water, but at a slower rate. A thick, crusty sap forms on the end of the trunk and can hamper water absorption.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, it is not necessary to add anything to the water of Christmas trees, like aspirin, bleach or fertilizer. Plain tap water will extend the life of a tree for weeks. Other additives can actually hamper water absorption and tree moisture levels.

Look for large tree stands that can accommodate at least a gallon of water. A tree drinks at least one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter per day. A larger stand ensures the water will last longer between refills. Also, check water levels regularly. There are products on the market that will automatically add water to tree stands in case you forget.

Many people avoid real Christmas trees because they feel they are “killing” a tree and harming the environment. In fact, Christmas trees are raised on farms and harvested for this specific purpose. For every tree harvested, at least three are planted in its place. Each year there are more trees available than the last. Cut trees can be recycled after the season and impact the environment far less than artificial trees made of nonbiodegradable metal and plastic.

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