There’s nothing better than the smell of a real Christmas tree filling the house during the holiday season. Going out and picking the “best” one (or maybe even the ugliest one), and bringing it home to be adorned with lights, glittering tinsel, and new and heirloom decorations is a very special tradition for many families. Once it’s all “spruced” up (pun intended), your Christmas tree is the perfect place to gather around with a hot drink and some snacks while listening to your favourite music and spending time with your family members and friends.
Live Christmas trees require extra special attention in order to keep them thriving through to the new year. They are living and breathing beings that, with proper care, should last at least five weeks. Here are some tips for keeping it looking its sharpest until the countdown comes for 2022.
- Try to choose the healthiest tree in the lot, which doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest and the fullest. Look for one that is nice and green with very few brown needles. One way to check its overall health is to lift it up slightly, then drop it to see how many needles fall to the ground.
- If your Christmas tree salesperson does not trim the trunk of the tree at the time of purchase, that is something you should do yourself once you return home. Cut across the base of the trunk to allow for water to absorb more easily.
- If you have kept your tree outside for a few days, trim it again before bringing it in.
- The tree stand is extremely important. Choose a heavy, sturdy stand that will keep your tree strongly upright and safe from falling over.
- Your tree stand should also allow for at least a gallon (about four litres) of water. An old rule of thumb is to add one quart (four cups) of water for every inch of the tree’s diameter.
- Watch the water carefully. If it drops below the level of the cut end of the trunk, refill it.
- You’ll know if your tree is drying out if the needles start to feel brittle and dry and are falling off sooner than you think they should.
- Some recommend keeping the temperature level lower in the room where your Christmas tree is in order to keep it fresh longer.
- If the room is very dry, running a humidifier for a little while each day can help slow the drying process.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources such as a register or a portable heater.
- Be very, very careful when decorating. If you need to reach higher branches, use a CSA-approved ladder or stepladder and always have someone nearby to spot you and to hand you ornaments.
Prevent a fire and a Christmas tragedy
It is extremely important to keep your Christmas tree away from open flames at all times. Placing your tree near a fireplace is just a bad idea (and will also shorten its lifespan), and candles should never be burned nearby. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in the United States firefighters respond to approximately 200 Christmas tree fires every year, which is quite a lot less than 1985, when that number came close to 850. Still, 200 fires is 200 too many, and the result can be extreme damage to your house, loss of property, and even injury or death.
In addition to keeping open flames well away from your Christmas tree, hang your decorations, which tend to be extremely flammable, away from your lights. Do not attach more than the maximum amount of light strands together, as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and if they have frayed or cracked cords, throw them out. Check your lights and extension cords regularly. If they become hot to the touch, it’s likely a sign that something is wrong.
Compost or throw your tree away
Once your tree has begun dropping a large amount of needles daily and water just doesn’t seem to help anymore, it’s time to throw it out.
If you choose to compost your tree, be sure to:
- Thoroughly remove all decorations. If you don’t it may not be picked up.
- Cut your tree up into small pieces. It must be able to fit in your green bin with the lid closed.
- If you can’t fit your whole tree in your bin and don’t want to wait for the next pick-up day, you can put the branches in paper yard waste bags with the tops rolled down and place them two feet from your green bin.
All the very best from us at Mirage
We at Mirage Landscaping would like to wish you and yours all the very best for this upcoming holiday season. Thank you for choosing us to be your trusted southeast Calgary snow removal, residential and commercial landscaping, and landscape construction company for the three generations we have been in business. We will see you on our snow removal routes, helping to keep your property safe, and hope you are able to enjoy every minute of this special time.