Some will purchase trees from stores while others will venture to tree farms to carefully select the right tree.
I have many pleasant memories of selecting a tree with my dad on the family farm.
When my daughters were young, we would go to local tree farms and select our tree for that year.
I will be sharing publication information from Dr. David Moorehead, UGA Professor- Silviculture.
According to Moorehead, live trees have been brought into homes for decorating for over 500 years.
Each year over 30 million trees are purchased in the United States for the holidays.
When selecting a tree it is important to look at shape of the tree, the height and the foliage characteristics. There are many variety options available when deciding on trees.
There are Virginia Pines, Sotch Pines, Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir and Leyland Cypress just name a few.
Many people who have live trees in the home have varieties they just prefer over others.
Some of this may be tradition or it may be to the characteristics of that tree that draw them to certain varieties.
Many people have tree needle characteristics as a selection criteria.
When selecting the tree, you will need to know the height of your ceiling and select a tree that is at least one foot shorter than the ceiling height.
Run your fingers over the branches along the needles.
Needles should bend, but not break or fall off. Few needles should fall off a fresh tree when you shake or bounce the tree.
According to Moorehead, some loss of needles inside the tree is common.
Also, make sure the handle of the tree is straight.
The straight handle will help in proper placement in the tree stand. It is suggested for the handle to be at least 6-8 inches long.
Investigate the tree for insect issues and check the crown for dead needles. Stay away from trees that are wilted and shake or blow out dead needles before you buy the tree.
Caring for the tree when you get home is key in keeping the tree fresh.
If you do not plan on putting the tree in a stand immediately, you need to cut one inch off the base and put the tree in a shady area in a bucket of water.
When you are ready to bring inside, cut ½ inch to one inch more off the base and place in a stand that can hold at least one gallon of water.
Do not put your tree around heat sources such as heat vents or fireplaces. Trees can use several quarts of water a day. This makes checking stand water levels several time a day important.
If you allow the water level to go below the tree base, the tree can seal up. This will stop water up-take.
If water up-take is stopped, the only thing you can do is take the tree down and make another fresh cut to the base.
This is tough to do when the tree is already decorated. It is not necessary to add aspirin, soda water, bleach or sugar to the water in the stand.
This is no more effective in keeping a tree fresh than adding plain water according to Dr. Moorehead.
Fireproofing your tree is important. The best defense is to keep the tree supplied with water at all times. A tree that is taking up water is pretty fire resistant.
Use only UL- approved lights and decorations that are nonflammable.
It is suggested to never leave home or go to bed with tree lights on.
There are fire marshal approved treatments that can be sprayed on trees to reduce flammability.
You can check with the salesperson at the store on whether their trees have been sprayed to reduce flammability.
You can also check with fire departments for suggested fire-retardant treatments.
According to Dr. Moorehead, trees can have a use after the holidays.
Trees can be ground into a mulch for flower beds and gardens. Trees can also be a great for fish habitats by sinking them in ponds.
For more information you can contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email email@example.com.