The selection and purchase of a Christmas tree has become an annual tradition for many families who chose a real tree over an artificial substitute. Bringing home a tree is often the kick off of the holiday season. Today, live trees can be found just about anywhere you look such as retail lots, shopping centers, the ever popular choose-and-cut farms. Of course, real trees do require some extra care to keep them looking good through the holiday season.
When choosing a tree, freshness is the most important factor. Purchasing trees that have already been cut for a period of time, are probably the most difficult trees to keep fresh and fragrant due to the length of time from cutting until the tree is placed in the home. A fresh tree should have a healthy, green appearance without a lot of dead or browning needles. As you stroke the tree, needles should not come off into your hand. Another good test to do before buying a tree is to raise the trunk a few inches off of the ground and then drop the tree on the cut end. When this is done, only a few inner dried needles should fall, and certainly not any green outer needles.
Once the tree is brought home, its continued freshness will depend on the type of care that is provided. A 1 inch re-cut across the bottom of the tree should be made. This will remove any clogged wood that many not absorb water. Put the tree into a stand or container of warm water and place it in as cool a spot as possible. Avoid placing it in an area where there is a heat source such as a fireplace, wood-burning stove, heat ducts and even television sets. This will help to preserve the freshness, reduce water loss and lessen the fire danger.