Buying Fresh Christmas Trees
The best way to assure freshness when buying this year's Christmas
tree is to buy it directly from a fresh-cut or cut-your-own farm.
Another way to have a fresh tree is to buy a living tree for use
during the holidays and then plant them outside afterwards. There
are many farms and nurseries in northern Illinois with both kinds
of trees available.
It is a good idea to call ahead to check on tree availability,
since some farms may sell out of stock quickly. Also, check with
area tree farms for the variety and size of the tree that is needed.
Some specialize in large trees, unique varieties, or other characteristics.
Farms also vary as to the availability of other holiday decorations,
such as boughs, wreaths, pinecones and other items. They also vary
as to the services they offer customers in preparing the tree for
transporting and some possibly even offer delivery.
If cutting your own tree, remember to do some measuring at home
before making the trip. Trees in the field look smaller than they
are in reality and will appear to be in the house. Don't forget
to measure for width as well as height.
When buying a live balled and burlapped tree, plan ahead. Be sure
to have the hole for planting dug before the ground is frozen solid.
It helps to cover the hole with straw and burlap to keep the soil
thawed around it until planting. Be sure the tree is kept well watered
inside the house, since it can quickly dehydrate indoors. Using
an anti-desiccant at planting will help reduce moisture loss outdoors.
Keep the tree watered after planting as much as soil conditions
will allow. Live trees can be used successfully, but it does require
some work and care.
Regardless how fresh the tree is when purchased, care needs to
be taken on the trip home and once the tree is in the house to maintain
that freshness. The tree should be wrapped or covered on the way
home. Wind can rapidly desiccate the needles. Be sure to take along
a tarp, old blankets or other material to cover the tree and plenty
of rope. Once in the house, maintain water levels in the stand above
the bottom of the trunk to avoid it sealing over and restricting
water uptake. Also, keeping the house cool and using a humidifier
will help keep the tree fresher longer.
For further information, contact your local University of Illinois
December 2001 - January 2002: Pointsettas
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