Fresh Cut and Live Christmas Trees

 
Fresh Cut & Live Christmas Trees

Make Your Holiday Season Complete with the Sight and Scent of a Real Tree 

   

There is no denying the special holiday feeling of bringing home a fresh, green Christmas tree that fills your home with the festive scent of pine. Not to mention the trimming, decorating and lighting of the tree that is a holiday tradition for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Putting up a fresh-cut or live Christmas tree for the holidays will require a little extra care and attention, but the joy it brings to your home will be well worth the effort. 


Before you begin to shop, consider:
 
        • Where do you plan to place your tree?
        • What tree height and width are best for your home?
        • Are you interested in a particular type of tree?
        • What is the difference between a fresh-cut tree and a live one?
        • How can you help your tree thrive throughout the holiday season?
 

Planning


When choosing the location for your fresh-cut tree, it’s important to select a spot that is cool and free from drafts. You also want to make sure that it is located away from heat sources, such as vents, fireplaces or appliances to help the tree retain moisture and remain healthy.
 
Once you find the right location, you’ll want to measure the available height and width of the area. And remember, the taller the tree, the larger the base, so keep this in mind when shopping.
 
        • Allow an appropriate amount of space between the tree and the ceiling for a topper.
        • Type, style and number of decorations and ornaments can influence your tree selection.
 

Tree Types


Fresh-cut Christmas trees are generally selected for their ability to retain their needles, color, overall shape and natural fragrance. The most popular fresh-cut Christmas trees tend to be fir, spruce or pine varieties, although you needn’t limit your selection to just these types. Keep in mind that trees are sometimes suited to particular regions, which can affect their availability in your area.

In addition to fresh-cut trees, some people choose a “live” or “living” tree. This environmentally appealing option comes in either a large pot or a burlap sack with its roots completely intact. After enjoying the tree over your Christmas holiday, it can then be transplanted to your backyard. If purchasing a living Christmas tree in a cold climate, store the tree in a cool to cold (non-freezing) area such as your garage for 10 to 14 days to allow the tree to proceed into winter dormancy.

The section below highlights some of the more popular tree types and their defining characteristics. You’ll want to choose one with the right combination of features that best suit your needs and preferences.
 

Balsam Fir


Balsam Fir Tree

Needle Size

Color

Shape

Other Characteristics

3/4" to 1-1/2" Dark green Pyramidal shape with spire-like tip • Strong fragrance
• Good needle retention

Black Hills Spruce


Black Hills Spruce Tree ½” to ¾” Dark green Symmetrical shape with a
conical crown
• Dense, full coverage
  foliage
• Sturdy branches can
  hold heavier ornaments
• Fair needle retention

Colorado Blue Spruce


Colorado Blue Spruce Tree 1" to 1-1/2" Dark blue-gray to silvery blue Pyramidal shape with conical crown • Symmetrical form
• Excellent needle
  retention
• Popular choice for living
  trees and landscaping

Douglas Fir


Douglas Fir Tree 1" to 1-1/2" Dark or blue green Pyramidal • Sweet, subtle scent
• Commonly available
• Long lasting needle

Eastern White Pine


Eastern White Pine Tree 2-1/2" to 5" Blue green to silver green Conical • Little or no fragrance
• May be better for allergy
  sufferers
• Soft, flexible needles
• Not ideal for heavy
  ornaments

Fraser Fir


Fraser Fir Tree 1/2" to 1" Dark green Pyramidal • Strong branches ideal
  for heavy ornaments
• Excellent needle
  retention
• Fresh fragrance

Grand Fir


Grand Fir Tree 1" to 1-1/2" Dark green Symmetrical shape with rounded crown • Strong fragrance
• Needles have a glossy
  appearance

Noble Fir


Noble Fir Tree 1'' Blue-gray with silver appearance Pyramidal shape with upturned needles • Long-lasting needle life
• Stiff branches are well
  suited for heavier
  ornaments
• Pleasing aroma
• Often used to create
  swags, garlands and
  wreaths

Norway Spruce


Norway Spruce Tree 1/2" to 1" Dark green Triangular • Soft, subtle scent
• Fair needle retention

Scotch Pine


Scotch Pine Tree 1" to 3" Ranges from bright greens to blue greens Conical • Stiff, sturdy branches for
  supporting heavy items
• Lasting aroma
• Excellent needle
  retention

White/Concolor Fir


White/Concolor Fir Tree 1-1/2" to 3" Blue green Pyramidal • Releases pleasing citrus
  aroma when needles are
  crushed
• Good needle retention

White Spruce


White Spruce Tree 1/2" to 3/4" Green or blue green Symmetrical shape with a conical crown • Dense, full-coverage
  foliage
• Sturdy branches can
  hold heavier ornaments
• Crushed needles
  release an unpleasant
  odor
• Fair needle retention

Environmental Benefits


Choosing a fresh-cut or live tree is a great way to add more green to your holiday. Unlike artificial trees, real trees are a renewable resource, with hundreds of thousands of acres dedicated to their cultivation. Christmas tree farms raise and harvest different varieties of trees, virtually eliminating the harvesting of trees in the wild, which can deplete valuable forests. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, every acre of planted trees produces enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of 18 people.
 
        • The average tree takes approximately seven years to reach maturity.
        • For every tree that is harvested, anywhere from one to three more seedlings are planted
        • Recycling programs located in most communities turn your used tree into useful mulch.
 

Selection Tips


When it comes to selecting your tree, look for one with a bright, vibrant color. Needles that look dull and listless can indicate dryness or age. Because fresh-cut trees have a limited life, you’ll want to be sure and purchase one that was recently harvested. While some needle loss is normal on any tree, when it is shaken, it should retain the vast majority of its needles. If there is excessive loss, move on to the next tree. If you are selecting a live tree, be sure to do your homework and choose a species that will grow and thrive in your region.
 
        • Shake the tree and observe how many needles it sheds.
        • Withered bark on the outer twigs and branches indicates excessive dryness.
        • Pine trees with brittle needles that break easily are dehydrated.
        • Fir needles that are fresh and well-hydrated snap crisply when bent.
        • Inspect both fresh-cut and live trees for the presence of insects and other pests.
 

Care and Maintenance


Having a fresh tree requires additional care. As soon as you get the tree home, make a new cut on the trunk so it can readily absorb water. Saw ½ to 1 inch off the base and immediately place it in water. You can eliminate this step by purchasing your tree at The Home Depot. We cut the tree trunk for you, so you can place your tree directly in the stand upon arriving home.
 
Keeping your tree hydrated is the key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant tree throughout the holiday season. Trees can consume as much as a gallon or more of water per day, depending on the type and size of the tree. Make sure your stand has enough depth to keep the base of the trunk submerged in water at all times. Fresh-cut trees usually last between four and six weeks, so be careful not to purchase too early; sometime around Thanksgiving will suffice.
  
        • Be sure to choose a stand that can fit around the entire width of the tree trunk.
        • Stands should have a minimum capacity of 1 quart of water for every inch of stem diameter.
        • Check water daily and make sure that the base of the tree is always covered.
        • Water your tree using plain tap water with no additives for best results.
        • Recycle your tree at the end of the season through your local community program.        
        • Live trees (trees with root systems) should only be located indoors for between three and 10 days.
        • If you live in a cold climate, before bringing the tree indoors let it rest in a cool part of the home like 
          a garage. The same is true of returning it to the yard.
 

Safety


When it comes to fire safety, the most important thing to know is that a well-hydrated tree provides natural protection against fire hazards. To keep you and your family safe during the holidays, you should water your tree every day, without exception.
 
Additionally, using smaller, less heat-intensive lights, such a mini lights or LEDs, will reduce drying. Always inspect light cords for damage or wear before hanging them and discard defective ones immediately. Use only UL-listed lighting, which has been tested by an independent agency.
 
If you have small children or pets in your house, you’ll want to take extra precautions to ensure your tree will not be easily toppled.
 
        • Always unplug and turn off lights when leaving the house or going 
          to bed, or use an automatic timer to turn lights off and on.
        • Replace worn or damaged lights and electrical cords.
 

Other Considerations 


Tree Stand: Keep your fresh-cut tree thriving all season long with a stand designed to deliver a constant supply of water straight to the base of your tree. Look for models with easy adjustments that allow you to accommodate the natural slant of the tree. Units are available in both plastic and metal configurations and should have a minimum capacity of 1 gallon.
 
Tree Bags: Easily dispose of your tree without scattering needles, branches and other debris all over your house with the help of a tree bag. These specially designed units fit over and around your tree at the end of the season so you can more easily transport it out of your home. Some even feature handles on the side for easier carrying.