Saturday, December 5, 2015

Caring for Your Christmas Tree by Donna Duffy

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What’s your vision of a perfect Christmas tree? Some would say it needs to be full and symmetrical. Others look for well-spaced limbs strong enough to support lots of lights and ornaments. Some like natural trees, others like artificial trees. Me? I tend to gravitate toward the “Charlie Brown” trees hiding at the edges of the lot. Regardless of your preference, caring for your tree properly will keep it healthy and fresh for the longest possible time after purchase.

Planttalk Colorado offers several suggestions for Christmas tree selection and care. First, make a new cut at the end of the trunk about an inch above the old cut immediately after purchase. Keep the cut end standing in water, whether you decorate the tree immediately or store it to decorate later. If you store the tree, keep it in a cool, shaded place.

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Check the tree's water level frequently and refill as necessary. Fresh evergreen trees can take up an amazing amount of water - up to a gallon during their first 24 hours off the tree lot. Because many tree stands have small reservoirs, you may need to fill the reservoir twice daily. Your tree will last longer indoors if it's located away from direct sun, radiators or heat vents, fireplaces, television sets and other sources of heat.

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Check your electric lights to make sure cords aren't worn, and keep metallic ornaments and tinsel away from bulb sockets. Avoid combustible decorations. It’s easy to overload electrical circuits with lots of strings of lights – read the instructions for how many strings can safely be joined together.

A fresh tree that receives good care should remain in safe condition indoors for ten days to two weeks. Happy decorating!