Can you believe it’s already time to think about buying a Christmas tree? Everybody has their own traditions, but in our house my wife insists that we get the tree up and decorated the weekend right after Thanksgiving. This may seem a bit early, but with the right care a Christmas tree can easily last from Black Friday to well past New Years Day. Here are some tips to keep your tree green and healthy throughout the holiday season-
- Use a tree stand that actually fits your tree. If you have to whittle down the tree’s trunk, the stand doesn’t fit- and those outer layers of trunk are the best at absorbing water. Also, the stand should hold enough water to provide one quart of water per inch of trunk circumference.
- Once you get the tree home, cut off a ½” thick disk from the bottom to provide a fresh cut for better absorption and get the tree into water as soon as possible. Keep the cut as straight and perpendicular to the trunk as possible in order to provide a firm base.
- Use lights that produce as little heat as possible—the new generation of LED lights are great for this. This is both a safety/fire issue and will help with the overall health and appearance of your tree. Also, inspect the light string for any breaks or exposed wire before installing them on your tree.
- Keep the tree away from any heat sources—fireplaces, woodstoves and both baseboard and forced air heaters. Once again, this is both a fire hazard issue and for the health of the tree.
- Monitor the tree’s health and the water level DAILY. Keep the water topped up and make sure the tree’s needles aren’t drying out. Remove the tree from your home at the first appearance of any drying.
Now that we’ve discussed general care and maintenance, here are some local resources that can help you find the perfect tree-
- Stocker Farms, Snohomish- centrally located in the Snohomish Valley, Stocker Farms offers both pre-cut and U-cut options and four different types of fir trees. Open on November 27th.
- Lochsloy Acres, Lake Stevens- a newer player in the Christmas tree game, Lochsloy started planting trees in 2003. They only seem to offer U-cut trees, but they do have wreathes and swags for sale also. Open on November 27th.
- Puget Sound Christmas Tree Association- As the name suggests, they’re an organization of local Christmas tree growers. Their site has an interactive map to find the nearest Christmas tree farm and some great information on tree types so you can narrow down your choices before you trek out into the winter weather.
Finally, a word on disposing of your tree responsibly-
- There are several options available, with the most straightforward one being curbside pickup. Check with your garbage collector to see what their policy is…some require that the tree be cut up and put in your yard waste bin while others allow you to just leave the whole tree next too your garbage cans on collection day.
- Another possibility is your local Boy Scout troop. Some offer pickup service while others set up locations for drop off. The service is usually free but donations are definitely appreciated.
- Lastly, your local big box hardware store may offer a recycling service for a limited time. Just call or check their website for availability. - Michael Larson