Caring for Live Trees in Six Easy Steps
The smell of a fresh balsam fir tree in your house is the intoxicating scent of Christmas. But who loves having tons of needles on the floor or a brown tree in the family room by December 20th? No one! Here is a quick list of how you can keep your tree fresh and clean all season long.
Select a goodhydrated tree. When selecting your tree run your hands down the branches. If needles detach easily then the tree is dehydrated. Move on to another tree or dealer.
Remove and recut about one inch of the tree's trunk when you get it home even if you have cut your own tree. The sap will create a scab over the old cut and the tree cannot take up water well. Immediately put the tree in the stand and water after recutting.
Wash your tree. Before you bring the tree in the house set it in its stand and rinse the tree very well with a rose sprayer on a garden hose. Let the tree stand outside for a few hours in the shade or over night to dry. The tree will absorb water through the leaves and branches. Also some pesticides, molds and insects will be reduced a bit by washing. Then, bring it inside to decorate.
If you are in a freezing cold part of the county you could bring the tree in the garage to dry, I suppose. Remember I'm a Southern boy! 50 degrees is cold, 30 is frigid and anything in the teens, we don't go out.
Keep the tree cool. Just like cut flowers, keep the tree as cool as possible, away from heating registers, drafts and fireplaces all of which will dry the tree out.
Don't let the water go dry. Remember the trunk will scab over if its gets dry so don't let the stand dry out. Check the water level each day by slipping your finger into the stand and feeling for water.
Buy a Tree Bag. Put a tree bag under your tree. Then, when it is time for disposal, simply pull your bag over the tree and take the tree out of the house. Also, place a mat or large towel on your floor to give an extra bit of protection for your floor. Weathertech even sells tree mats.
If you are a gardener also consider composting your tree by running it through a chipper. Conifer mulch is a great soil amendment and mulch for acid loving plants.