During the holidays, families are picking out the perfect Christmas tree for their home. When you select a tree, there are a few key points to keep in mind, whether you are going to cut your own tree or buy one from a retail lot that has already been cut.
Do a freshness test: Run your fingers over the branch along the needles. Needles should be pliable and adhere to the branches. The needles should bend, but not break or fall off. Shake the tree to be sure that the needles are firmly attached. If the tree is fresh, a few needles will fall off. Check for insects and dead needles inside the tree, and make sure that the trunk of the tree is straight. If you have an extra large tree, it is suggested that you also check for wildlife.
When you get your tree home, cut 1–2 inch off the base of the trunk and immediately place it in a stand that can hold at least a gallon of water. Water the tree daily. Some trees will use several quarts of water per day. Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree. If this occurs, the cut end can seal over within a few hours, preventing further water uptake. The tree will need to be taken down and a fresh cut made to allow water uptake. Adding aspirin, soda water, bleach, or sugar to the water in the stand is no more effective than adding plain water every day.
If you have any questions about Christmas trees please contact your local county Extension agent.