1. Measure twice, cut once. Where are you putting the tree in your home? What kind of space do you have for a tree and what size tree will fit there? Remember to subtract the height of your stand and the tree topper you want to use to get the maximum tree height you can fit. Also clear the space where you'll put the tree and see how deep it is. Different species are different girths, so you want to be sure you won't be squishing the branches against the wall. And keep an eye on the size of your stand. You want to be sure the trunk of your tree will fit in it, and that it's big enough to keep your tree upright.
2. Once you're at the purchasing lot, picking a tree is a lot like picking fruits and vegetables from the produce aisle at the grocery store. Touch and smell makes a difference. Test the branches. gently pull the ends of the branches. If you wind up with a handful of needles, this is not the tree for you. Also crush a few needles in the palm of your hand. You should smell 'Christmas'. If not, move along.
3. Make sure the tree's trunk fits your stand. Common sense rule, but you'd be surprised how many neglect to measure this.
4. Before you walk off the lot with that perfect tree, have the lot attendant put it through a shaker (if they have one—some farms use a blower, though a vigorous bounce will do as well). This will shake off any dead, interior needles. Don't worry—it's perfectly natural for an evergreen to have some dead needles on it from fall. Then have the tree sent through the baling machine to wrap it in netting for easy transport.
5. Getting a Christmas tree is a lot like getting a bouquet of flowers. Many of you will cut the ends of the stems of your cut flowers. You'll want do this to your tree too, but use a saw, not scissors. LOL. Cutting the end off the trunk is critical to opening up the veins that will deliver water to the branches. Use a pruning saw, and take at least an inch off. You can have the lot do it before you leave if you're headed for home, but you should wait if you're going to be out more than four hours. Otherwise, the end will glaze over with new pitch, and the tree won't take up water.
6. In addition, keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets. Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they're in good working order. You don't want to use cords with cracked insulation or broken or empty sockets. Also be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Never overload electrical circuits and use only UL approved lighting accessories.
7. Put the tree into it's stand while it is still wrapped.
8. Now it's time for water and lots of it. Add fresh, clean water as soon as possible. The first couple of days the tree is going to suck up at least a gallon of water. The actual amount a tree can consume varies, so be vigilant the first two days, refilling when the stand gets low until the levels stay steady. Never let the water level drop beyond the cut end or you run the risk of sap forming, which will seal off the tree's ability to absorb water. There's really no need for any additives, like aspirin or plant food, as long as the water is clean and fresh.
9. Now decorate to your heart's content!
Enjoy the holiday season!
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area. We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner. Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.
Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.
Thanks for reading,
President and CEO, Trees "R" Us, Inc.