Thursday, November 28, 2002
Having a decorated Christmas tree in our homes has been a tradition in this country for more than 150 years. The tree farms in the United States that supply the trees employ more than 100,000 people, and more than 32 million Christmas trees are sold each year. With proper care, you can have a fresh Christmas tree in your home throughout the holidays.
After bringing home this soon-to-be new addition to your living room, make a fresh cut at the base, at least 1 inch above the existing cut. Place the tree in a stand with a large reservoir of water in the room of choice. If you choose to store the tree, keep it in a container of water in a cool room. However, don't keep it in a cold room for too long or it will dry out. The tree may absorb a gallon of water the first day. Check the stand to make sure the container has water every day. Some people prefer to add substances to their stand water, but it is not necessary. The tree just needs water on a regular basis to help keep it from drying out. If the tree does become dried out, remove it from the stand and make a fresh cut and replace it back in the stand and water it. This may help it to absorb needed water.
There are many things to consider with the location of the Christmas tree. People with small children or pets should attach the tree to the wall to avoid the tree overturning. Nocturnal pets, like cats, are notorious for playing King of the Christmas tree during the wee hours of the morning. Also, place the tree away from heat sources like sunny windows, fireplaces, heat ducts and wood stoves. It should be in a safe place near a corner or wall and not blocking an exit from a room.
The Christmas tree lights should always be in good working order. Never leave lights on while away from the house or after going to bed. Use common sense when decorating a tree and don't overload the electrical socket. A well-watered Christmas tree should not be a fire hazard, but a dried-out one can easily become one.
After the holidays, watch the newspaper for dates that the city will collect the trees for recycling.
That special Christmas tree we spend time shopping for, or snowshoeing through forests to find, needs our special attention to preserve its natural beauty.
Camille C. Fisher is a Master Gardener through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Routt County. Questions? Call 879-0825 or e-mail: email@example.com.