By Jessica Williams
Finding the perfect Christmas tree doesn’t have to be difficult. Christmastime, and the holiday season in general, can be a stressful time for many people. There are so many holiday parties to attend, presents to buy, meals to make and decorations to set out. Out of all the decorations this holiday season, finding the perfect Christmas tree for your home should not be as stressful as some make it out to be. Norman Haley of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has some great advice for finding the perfect tree.
“I know for me and my family, we buy a precut tree every year. Yet, there are many families that cut down their own trees. Common Christmas species grown in the south and are available at ‘cut your own’ farms are: Leyland cypress, Virginia pine, Arizona cypress, eastern red cedar and white pine. The trees often found at ‘precut’ vendors include: Fraser Fur, Douglas Fur and Blue spruce.
Haley said the best time to get your tree depends on if you want to buy a precut tree, or cut down your own. If you cut your own tree, Haley said to plan ahead on when to cut it.
“Expect most trees to last a maximum of 3 weeks after cutting. After that, the needles begin to shed and the fragrance is gone.”
If you buy a precut tree, Haley said the timing can be difficult because you don’t know exactly when the tree was cut.
“The best advice is to shake the tree and run your hand down the branch. Very few green needles should slough off,” Haley said.
Haley said also to check to make sure the trunk is reasonably straight and that there is only one trunk. “Trees with dual or split trunks can be difficult to put in a stand.”
It is also smart to know how much space your home has for a tree. Measure the height and width of the room before purchasing or cutting down a tree. When buying a precut tree, the taller the tree, the higher the cost.
Pay attention to branch stiffness when picking out your tree.
“Heavy ornaments require stiff branches. Arizona cypress, eastern red cedar, blue spruce, Fraser fur and Virginia pine have stiffer branches,” Haley said.
Once you’ve found the perfect tree and brought it home, cut the stump again and place it in water.
“Check the water daily, as fresh cut trees will translocate or absorb a great deal of water in the first few days after cutting. This prolongs fragrance and the needles from shedding,” Haley added.
Haley reminds tree buyers to not let the tree linger too long after the holidays are over. “It will begin to furiously shed needles, and dry branches and lighting becomes a fire hazard.”
With these tips, you can find the perfect Christmas tree for this holiday season.