by Trace Perry, Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service
LOUSIBURG — ‘Tis the season to be jolly and to take care of your Christmas tree. Now that you are surely in the mood and waiting for more information, lets get started.
A fresh tree remains fresh and fragrant if you take care of it. A neglected tree looses much of its beauty after only a short period of time.
Care of a freshly cut tree: Cutting your own tree from a Christmas tree farm is the most reliable method insuring a fresh tree. If possible try to avoid hauling your tree over long distances. Air movement across the needles will cause a rapid evaporation of the water in the tree. If you purchase your tree from a sales lot, buying it as early as possible will ensure greater freshness and a better selection.
Basal cuts on the trunk: After a few days, the cut that was made on the trunk in harvesting the tree will dry out and become clogged with fresh resin, and will no longer absorb water. To avoid this problem make a fresh cut on the tree as soon as you return home with the tree.
Storing the tree: Once you get the tree home, place it in water and store it in a cool environment, preferably out of the wind. Avoid storing the tree on the ground, it may become frozen in place and difficult to move without breaking branches.
Adequate water supply for your tree: A fresh tree deprived of water will dry out rapidly. Therefore, you should maintain an adequate water supply. Additives are unnecessary, and often do more harm than good. When you display your tree, the stand should have a reservoir of adequate size for the tree that you purchase.
If the reservoir in your tree stand is small you will need to check the water level more often than with a larger reservoir. Since you have to keep the water level above the cut surface of the tree trunk to retain freshness, check the water level in the stand at least twice daily.
Placement of the tree in the home: Displaying your tree properly at home can also reduce water loss. Avoid placing your tree near a fireplace or furnace outlet, as the heat will cause the tree to dry out more rapidly. Reducing the room temperature will also reduce the amount of moisture in which evaporates from the tree.
For further information on caring for Christmas trees, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office.
—Tracy Perry is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Technician for Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service. He ban be reached at Tracy_perry@ncsu.edu. See more at franklin.ces.ncsu.edu