From: Laura Churchill Duke – Saltwire
With the holiday season now here, the tradition of putting up a live Christmas tree is still as popular as ever – and many families are opting to put up their tree earlier than ever as a way of bringing in some much-needed holiday joy.
According to David and Jenna Lee Mombourquette, owners and operators of Green Hills Farm in Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, N.S., many people have visited their Christmas tree farm earlier than ever before to select their tree.
“It seems like everyone is pleased to be able to do an activity outside with their family and friends where they can feel safe and still have fun. It seems as though the public is really looking forward to Christmas this year,” says Mombourquette.
Mombourquette offers some tips to ensure your tree stays fresh throughout the holiday.
- Getting your tree wrapped is more important than you realize.
Bailing or wrapping your tree will make it a lot easier to handle and will allow you to transport your tree much easier than if you leave it open. Without wrapping, you may get wind damage during transport or risk breaking branches when trying to get it into your home. Wrapping will also prevent a large trail of needles while getting it into its new space, says Mombourquette.
Leave the tree in the bail while you set it into the tree stand and tighten it up. When you feel like the tree is secure only then should you cut the bail and let it fall, she says.
If your tree has been bailed for more than 24 hours when you put it in your stand, leave it in the stand for 24 hours before decorating to ensure the branches have had time to get back into their natural place, she advises.
- Cut a little off the bottom – it will make a big difference.
Put a fresh cut onto your tree just before putting it in the stand, says Mombourquette. This is especially important if you aren’t sure when the tree was originally cut. The cut should be half an inch to an inch in size to re-open the tree stump – this will ensure your tree achieves optimal water absorption.
Try to ensure the cut is even so that your tree will be level upon installation, she adds.
- Think about the location
The closer a tree is to a heat source, the quicker it will begin to dry out, which can also be a safety hazard. If your house is inherently dry, using a humidifier can help to preserve your tree.
- Tree stands come in different sizes – and the size matters
Ensure that you have the right-sized stand for your tree. Most standard tree stands can handle an eight- to nine-foot tree, but if you go over that size, ensure you have a stand that is properly rated for oversized trees.
Make sure to check the water capacity of your stand. If it’s shallow, it may require a lot more watering than expected.
Before setting up the stand, Mombourquette recommends placing a piece of plastic or a garbage bag on the floor underneath it to prevent any potential water damage if you have a leakage or accidental spills when watering.
If the tree is larger than eight feet or doesn’t feel secure in the stand – or you have a cat that likes to climb – consider hooking or tying it. Put a small hook on the wall behind the tree and tie it off with a fishing line – the clear line won’t interfere with the esthetic.
- It’s all about the water
Watering your tree will keep it fresh for as long as possible in your home.
Once the tree is set up, fill the stand with water. Your tree will drink quite a lot in the first few days – potentially up to four litres per day, says Mombourquette.
Make sure you are checking it twice per day in the first 72 hours and then move to once per day. The water intake will slow down as time goes on.
Don’t let your stand going dry, as the bottom of your tree will “seal up” with resin if your tree attempts to drink and it cannot, she says.
While there are plenty of suggestions of things to add to the water, Mombourquette says regular tap water works best.
- Saying goodbye to the tree
Before you start taking down the tree, ensure you empty any water remaining in the stand.
A tree removal bag is an option, but they tend to be quite small compared to the size of real trees on the East Coast. Remember, real trees are biodegradable – check with your local waste collection, many will pick them up and make them into mulch.
Did you know?
- One acre of Christmas trees is enough daily oxygen for 18 people
- Tree farms can absorb up to one tonne of carbon dioxide over its lifetime
- The total size of the land dedicated to Christmas tree farming in Canada is 28,315 hectares
- Nova Scotia has about 1,200 families producing an estimated one million Christmas trees per year.