For some folks, the idea of keeping a live Christmas tree in their home can seem a bit daunting.
Watch holiday mainstays like A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and you might come away thinking that putting up a live tree will lead to nothing but frustration and disappointment.
If you’re part of the countless number of people considering buying live Christmas trees in New Jersey this winter, don’t worry. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your evergreen tree stays green this season.
1. Your best bet is to display your tree in a stand with a water reservoir that can hold enough water to feed your tree. Give your tree one quart of water for every inch of stem diameter.
2. Make sure the tree stand is the right size for your tree. You shouldn’t have to shave down the sides of the tree trunk to make sure that it fits. These outer layers of wood help the tree absorb water, and as such shouldn’t be removed.
3. Before you put the tree into the stand, make a fresh, perpendicular cut to slice away roughly half an inch of wood from the base of the trunk. Don’t make this cut at an angle, or in a V-shape, as this will make it harder for the tree to absorb water, and more difficult to keep in the stand.
4. You will not help the tree take in water by drilling a hole in the bottom of the trunk.
6. You might be shopping for Christmas trees in New Jersey days before you plan to actually put up the tree. If that’s the case, store the tree in a cool location, keeping the trunk in a bucket full of water. The temperature of the water you give the tree does not affect water absorption.
7. Check your tree stand each day to make sure the water level doesn’t drop below the base of the tree. In many stands, you might find water in the stand even if the base of the tree is no longer submerged.
8. Make sure you keep the tree away from heat sources such as heaters, fireplaces, vents and direct sunlight. Lowering the temperature in the room and decorating it with lights that produce lower heat will keep the tree from drying out, causing it to need less water each day.
9. Inspect lights before putting them on the tree. Do not use them if they’re worn, and do not overload your circuits. Make sure the lights are out before you go to bed.
10. Check the tree regularly to make sure it’s fresh. Once the Christmas season is over, remove it from your home. Check with your community to find out its tree recycling rules. Do not attempt to burn parts of the tree in your fireplace or wood stove.
If you’re in the market for Christmas trees in New Jersey this season, visit Mendham Garden Center. For more than 30 years, we’ve worked with the same grower from western Pennsylvania, who has provided us with exotic tree species such as Nordmann and Turkish firs.
Visit us online or at one of our three stores to find out more. We’ll be happy to advise you on how to keep your trees healthy this season.