Picking the right Christmas tree can add to the holiday's pleasure.
It's time to purchase a Christmas tree again. When shopping for that perfect tree, consider the space available in your home, including the height of the ceiling. Remember, a few inches will be cut off the bottom of the tree before it is placed in the stand.
To find a good quality tree, follow these steps:
- Gently pull on the needles. They should be tightly attached to the twig.
- Break a few needles. Be sure they are flexible, moist or possibly sticky, and fragrant when crushed.
- Shake the tree vigorously or bounce it on the ground. If green needles fall, look for another tree. Dead brown needles falling from the inner part of the tree may have been shed in previous years and are less of a problem. Fir and pine trees hold needles better than spruce trees.
- Check to see that the tree has a fresh, green color. Some trees are sprayed with a blue-green dye. This dye is harmless, but be sure it's not hiding a dry tree.
- Be sure limbs are strong enough to support lights and ornaments. Limbs should also be well-placed to give the tree a pleasing shape. Minor defects, however, can often be turned toward a wall and can lower the purchase price.
- Buy early, before all the desirable trees have been sold.
Some families purchase a potted or balled Christmas tree in the hope of having a new landscape tree come spring. This is very difficult to do successfully, but your chances of success increase if the tree is treated correctly.
- Buy a healthy tree from a reputable nursery or grower. Expect to pay a higher price than for a typical tree.
- Keep the tree in a shaded area or a nonheated garage until it is brought inside.
- Keep the soil in the ball or pot moist until well after it is transplanted after Christmas. A frozen ball need not be watered if the crown is shaded and protected.
- Lift and carry the tree by the ball or pot, not the top.
- Keep the tree in the house no longer than about one week.
- Have the tree's planting hole dug before the soil freezes and keep the fill dirt in the garage or some other location where it will not be frozen on planting day. The hole should be about 6 inches deeper and a foot wider than the size of the root ball.
- Remove packing and binding materials when planting the tree. Stake the tree for the first two years.
-- The Garden Calender is sponsored by the Douglas County Extension Service, and is written this week by County Extension Director Dennis D. Bejot. For more information, contact the Extension Office at 843-7058.