Caring for living Christmas trees

    submitted by Kirshner Landscapes and Nursery,

    The Christmas season is upon us again. It is a thing of warm wishes and fond memories.

    One of these is the Christmas tree purchased and the subsequent joyous tree trimming party.

    Perhaps the memory can be longer lived by the introduction of a live tree in your household!

    Your success will depend on your enthusiasm and motivation, but think of all the happiness (so your back is a little sore, but remember it’s the good memories).

    *First thing to remember is always buy fresh and as local as possible (that doesn’t mean purchase one within a stone’s throw).

    *When purchasing a tree, look for a variety that retains moisture in its needles, such as Douglas and Frasier firs. Most spruces and pines are good if moistened well ahead of time (that doesn’t mean you need to leave the hose running in your garage – unless you intend to ice skate for the holidays).

    *Next, always look for a tree that has a good root ball which helps later in the survival of the tree (that doesn’t mean it has to weigh 50 pounds or requires a neighborhood lifting party). Just look for a tree that has a sizeable as well as a firm ball.

    *Once you get it home, the underlying theme will be moisture and acclimatizing (this means getting used to) of the tree. No sudden shocks (not seismic) just a gradual movement from a garage or other protected area to its location in the house. Generally, a few days are sufficient.

    *Once in the house the tree should be placed in a container which will retain the water. A little fertilizer or iron solution will work as a way to prolong (please no alcohol). Lights and decorations are optional. Please refer to your light manual for overloads and shocks.

    *After the holidays, don’t forget to keep the tree moist and within a reasonable period, remove the tree and either set in your garage or outside in a shaded spot. After a few days, the tree can be planted or if the energy is not there, leave the tree in a shady spot and mulch well. It’s very important to understand that the sunlight will dry up the tree and cause quicker death than the cold temperature will. If desired, you can wrap the tree with a white sheet and remove late March (we call this the mummy).