Christmas is a holiday that is often celebrated with our nose. That might sound a little strange but many of our holiday memories are driven by the “scents of the season” such as the smell of freshly baked cookies or scented candles and potpourri. While studies show that the sales of live Christmas trees have been falling over the past few years, for many of us the holiday is defined by the fresh scent of a live tree. Maybe you’ve never had a live tree before or perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve had one in your home but if you are going to have one this year it’s important to know how to take care of it.
First, I want to differentiate between what I consider to be two types of live trees. The first is a tree that you go to a tree farm to cut yourself or purchase pre-cut from a retailer. The other is a live tree that has a root ball and can be planted in the ground after Christmas is over. Both of these require special handling to ensure they are properly and safely maintained during the holiday season and there are many similarities in the needs of both of these types of live trees.
The most important requirement, in both cases, is to obtain a healthy tree from a reputable grower or retailer. You want to be sure the tree isn’t dried out or losing needles and in the case of a tree that you plan to plant after the holiday, it should be inspected to ensure it is free of insects. Additionally, a tree that you plan to plant later should be kept in a cool, shaded place such as an unheated garage before it is brought inside to make sure it doesn’t start growing when it is brought into a warm home. One hint we have for you is when you bring either tree home you want to be sure to wrap it in a tarp or cover it so the wind doesn’t damage or dry it out.
When you bring the tree indoors be careful not to damage any of the branches or your furniture for that matter! A tree with an intact root ball should be carried by the ball if possible to avoid damaging the roots. After being brought indoors it is important to keep both types of tree watered. Keeping the room cool and the tree out of direct sunlight will help you to keep it moist and avoid allowing the tree to dry out. When you decorate your tree you should use lights that are certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and keep the tree away from other heat sources such as fireplaces. You should never use candles as ornaments and you should be sure to turn the lights off of the tree before you go to bed.
A balled tree has some additional requirements that you should adhere to. It should not be kept in a house for more than one week or a maximum of 10 days as it may start growing which could cause stress and damage to the tree when you move it outside. If you live in an area of the country where the ground may freeze around the holidays you should dig the hole for the tree before the ground is frozen and keep the dirt that you will use to plant the tree thawed. You should also consider staking the tree for at least the first year to provide it some support and you may want to consider spraying the tree with an anti-desiccant that is designed to help the tree maintain moisture and avoid damage from drying winds.
Whether you have a live tree or an artificial one, we at Blooming Secrets thank you for your business and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season!