When you choose to decorate your home with a real Christmas tree, there are steps you can take to keep the tree green, healthy and safe throughout the holiday season. If you like the scent of a Christmas tree, because let's face it who doesn't, then you need to take care of it at the source. It's important to know how to appropriately choose and care for your tree so that it can last longer and you can be more environmentally conscience.
Part 1: Picking a good tree:
Choose a healthy tree. If at all possible, buy a Christmas tree from a tree farm, where you can purchase a tree while it's still in the ground. A freshly cut Christmas tree will last longer than one that's been cut weeks ago and shipped to distant retail locations. Also, stay clear of trees with a large number of dead or browning needles-these trees are already past their prime. Gently stroke a branch on the tree to make sure the needles are flexible and remain on the tree.
Part 2: Making a space in your home:
Choose and clear a location for the tree. It should be kept away from open flames or heat sources, which may dry it out prematurely. Corners are good places to put trees because this placement keeps the tree safe from knocks and bumps. If you use lights to decorate your tree, place the tree close to an outlet. If this isn't possible, you will need to use an extension cord. Be sure that if you use an extension cord, it runs along to wall and doesn't create a trip hazard. Also, cover the floors where the tree will be placed. You can use a properly sewn tree skirt or be budget savvy and use Christmas themed paper or a piece of fabric.
Part 3: Mounting the tree:
Prepare the base of your tree using a small handsaw, cut about half inch to an inch off of the bottom to aid water absorption. Mount your tree within 8 hours of cutting the base. That is how long a fresh tree can go without water before absorption is jeopardized. A Christmas tree should never be mounted dry. It is much better to place it in a container of water that is replenished on a regular basis. You can buy special tree cradles or stands which screw into the base of the tree and provide watering space.
Part 4: Decorating the tree safely
For many, this is the most enjoyable part. It's also a good time to think about Christmas tree safety. A properly maintained Christmas tree should not be a fire hazard, as long as you can use common sense in decorating.
- Check each string to ensure that the bulbs are working properly.
- Inspect the cords to make sure they are not frayed or bitten by pets, and that the connections are secure.
Part 5: Taking care of the tree:
Watering the tree is crucial, to prevent any fire hazards. To start, you will need to make sure your tree gets lots of water because in the first few hours that the tree is settling in, it will need plenty and will drink like crazy. Afterward, you will need to add water almost every day. Not only is regular water good for the tree's vitality, but a well watered tree is less dry and therefore, combustible. Some people put aspirin in the water to help keep it fresh. Some also add Ginger Ale or Sprite to feed their tree.
Part 6: Check for sap leakage and collect fallen pine needles:
It is a good idea to check occasionally for sap that has leaked into your tree onto nearby furnishings or floor coverings. The sooner you catch any sap leakage, the easier it is to remove. Use a dustpan to sweep up those pesky pine needles. The more you do it, the less you will have to do at the end. Remember, the more you water your tree, the less pine needles will fall off!
And most importantly, have a very Merry Christmas!