Christmas is approaching; soon our thoughts will turn to bringing a tree inside our homes! Real Christmas tree’s always smell wonderful and look best, but with them comes a few challenges – like needles dropping on the carpet! We all like to get the best out of everything we buy, so here are a few tips on how to care for your real tree this Christmas and make sure you get value for money!
1. Make sure the tree is healthy!
This sounds obvious, but don't buy a tree that is losing its needles. Shake the tree to see if this is already happening. This will eliminate dead, loose needles, especially in species such as Virginia pine, white pine, Scotch pine and red cedar. There is less potential mess to reach the home. Also check the tree is not dry, brittle or musty in term of its odour. If you buy a healthy tree from a reputable garden centre, nursery or grower you will possibly pay a little more but you will get better value.
2. Size matters
Do not buy a tree that is too large for the area where it will be displayed. Aside from paying more, you will have to cut off a large section of the lower trunk, and possibly the lower whorl of branches. This might ruin the appearance of the lower part of the tree. It is advised that you do not keep the tree in the house for longer than a week.
3. Keep out of the sunlight
Once home, do not leave a cut Christmas tree lying in the sunshine for long periods of time, especially if air temperatures are warm. Fresh trees dry rapidly in those circumstances. Keep the tree in a shaded area or a unheated garage until it is brought inside.
4. Keep it in water
Scientist at the Forestry Commission have discovered that it is possible to encourage a cut Christmas tree to drink water and so prevent the drying out process that leads to the tree dropping needles. With a cut tree, up to 3 hours before you put up the Christmas tree, saw off the bottom - one inch (3cm off) - off the trunk. This will open up the pores in the bark to allow water to be taken up by the tree via capillary action .As soon as possible after this, stand the Christmas tree in plain water, not soil or sand, in a bucket or a water holding stand. A potted treewill have roots. These Christmas trees should be watered and cared for as with any house plant but do remember to place a tray under the pot to protect your carpet from water damage.
5. Keep away from heat
Keep your Christmas tree away from point sources of heat such as fireplaces, radiators, heat vents and direct sunlight. Lowering the room temperature will slow drying, resulting in less water consumption.
While lights on the tree look beautiful, do think safely. Use EU approved lights and devices on trees. Check electrical cords and lights for damage prior to placement on the tree. Faulty lighting and a wooden tree can equal a fire hazard in your home! Turn off tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
Keep pets out of the room in which the tree is placed, especially if you can't be there to supervise. Cats are known for leaping onto Christmas trees, especially when pursued by another pet. Use a ceiling hook to keep the tree from toppling. Both cats and dogs can knock down and break glass ornaments, then cut themselves on the pieces. Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords for Christmas tree lights. So hide them when possible, or help prevent injury by purchasing a pet-proof cover for the wiring.
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