Views of Clark County - When Good Trees Turn Bad

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors


We have been promoting fresh Christmas trees for some time as a green choice for the holidays. Every year, we enjoy the hunt, harvest, and even the hassle of putting up a fresh tree - especially now that we live within 2 miles of a great tree farm.

Typically, with proper care, they keep their aroma and greenery for many days, and last well past Christmas day. This year, though, we were in for a surprise - in spite of faithfully following the National Christmas Tree Association guidelines. We took the tree straight home and prepped it properly for the stand. Every morning we checked the water level, and topped it up when necessary.  We even keep a bottle of water right next to the base for easy refill. But, for some reason, it dried out faster than usual.  Needles started dropping early, and the bright green color started to fade.  When it started to feel brittle to the touch, we decided as a safety measure, to take it down. 

Burning Tree
Sure enough, as we disassembled the lights and ornaments, it was clear the tree was a goner. We took it outside and put it in our fire pit. With just the flick of a lighter, it blazed into a small inferno. We were sad to see it go, but relieved that it ignited outside, and not while we were gone over the Christmas weekend. 

A quick online search suggests that some trees don't absorb as much water as others, so that might be a factor.  The other is the extreme cold we experienced for several days caused us to use the wood stove a lot more, and the air might have dried it out faster. Whatever the reason, we are grateful we noticed it and took action.

Even after this experience, we are still not ready for an artificial tree.  According to the NCTA, "less than .0004% of Real Christmas Trees used each year are ignited in home fires." Next year we will again seek, saw and savor our live tree - we'll just put it in a cooler spot! This is just a friendly reminder that, while fresh trees are a great way to celebrate the holidays, it is important to pay attention and take steps to keep it from drying out.

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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.

314 NE Cedar Street
Camas, WA  98607





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Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Debb, while it's such a shame you had to take it down (it was gorgeous) I am sure you sleep well knowing it's not a safety hazard in your home. Just saw a news story this morning of a home not far from us that caught fire because of a dry tree. I am sure all of your other decorations keep you in the spirit. Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2016 11:05 AM #7
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Debb, Good thing you folks were prudent and watching carefully what was happening to this tree. This is a excellent lession for all folks who buy real trees. 

Dec 21, 2016 01:43 PM #8
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding and Marketing


Sometimes, stuff like that happens, and I am glad you took precautions.  And I admire you for telling us all what can happen. Bravo.  A

Dec 21, 2016 04:22 PM #9
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Debb - it is a bitter sweet thing and yet a blessing. You are wise and responsible and were able to see what was happening with the tree ... and you did the right thing by removing it.  I know YOU know that.  

Dec 21, 2016 05:07 PM #10
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Sorry to hear that your eco-friendly Christmas tree didn't last the season.  We do have the plastic variety but for us safety and convenience first

Dec 21, 2016 06:07 PM #11
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Debb, sorry to hear you had to take your tree down but better be safe than sorry, thank you for sharing. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, these things happen. 

Dec 21, 2016 06:52 PM #12
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

@DebDebb, that is too bad. But better safe than the alternative. They do make a nice fire though.

Dec 22, 2016 06:31 AM #13
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Debb and Bernie -- good for you in identifying and solving a potential hazardous issue.   I'm sure others will(or should) benefit from your timely post.  

Dec 22, 2016 06:59 AM #14
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                  Thank you Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD 

Dec 24, 2016 05:24 PM #15
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

Hopefully your next tree will adapt better.  I am glad you kept an eye on it and took the steps necessary to get it out of the home before it could cause a fire inside.

Dec 25, 2016 05:11 AM #16
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

We use a wood stove and yes, I think it does speed up the drying out process. Glad it gave you a fire pit photographic moment and warmed your bodies as well as your hearts.

Dec 25, 2016 11:44 AM #17
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Debb, well it certainly did start out beautiful!  I'm glad you realized what was happening before you took off for the weekend.  That looks like quite a blaze!  

Dec 25, 2016 06:10 PM #18
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Once the tree dries out and  the needles become brittle the tree become a fire harzard.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Dec 25, 2016 06:52 PM #19
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Sometimes things happen and we just have to accept it and be grateful that's all it was... in spite of that I hope you guys had a Merry and more memorable Christmas that you will look back fondly in years to come, Endre

Dec 25, 2016 08:48 PM #20
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I can see why Kathy chose to high light your post this week!

Dec 26, 2016 07:47 AM #21
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

We are so thankful you noticed the tree drying out and took it down. I hope you have a wonderful time with your Son and his family for Christmas!

Dec 26, 2016 08:59 AM #22
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

It was a tough year for live trees, for many different reasons. Here...we didn't have enough rain and the trees showed signs of it before they were even cut. Lots of brown branches in my tree when we went to get it. We took it anyways and it's been ok, but it stopped drinking several days ago so it's just a matter of time. At least we will make it to New Years.

Dec 26, 2016 12:33 PM #23
David Alan Baker Laveen Realtor & South Phoenix Realtor
HomeSmart - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

You made it to Kathy Streibs list of best of last week, congrats.  Nice post.

Dec 26, 2016 01:54 PM #24
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I remember many years ago that we got a live tree and put it up Thanksgiving weekend. A week later the needles started falling and by the second week of December it was clear we would have nothing left but a trunk come Christmas. So we removed the decorations and lights and went and got another tree. That second tree had so much life and aroma even when we took it down after Christmas. You never know,

Dec 26, 2016 05:04 PM #25
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

You did the intelligent thing! I have seen how fast a pine gets ingulfed in flames!

You are most probably correct about the stove removing the humidity which caused it to dry out faster.

Jan 20, 2017 04:49 AM #26
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REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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