In the Short Rows: - Montgomery County Extension Christmas Tree 101
In the Short Rows:
Artificial or live? When it comes to Christmas trees, everyone has a preference. While some may head to the attic or storage building to retrieve their trees to decorate for Christmas, others head to a Christmas tree farm or lot. Whether you’re team artificial or live, UGA Extension has you covered with tips for both heading into the holiday season.
There are several popular Christmas tree varieties to choose from- think Fraser Fir, Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pine, Eastern Red Cedar, and Murray Cypress, to name a few. No matter what variety you take home, the process for selecting a tree and caring for it remains the same. When selecting your tree, consider the space it will fill. How tall are your ceilings? What furniture will it need to fit between? Make sure your tree is the correct height and width for your space. After making size considerations, test the tree for freshness. You can do this by gripping a branch and running your hand over the needles. If many of the needles fall out, you may need to pick another, fresher tree. If most of the needles stay intact, you’re good to go!
You may need to trim the tree’s trunk 1-2 inches if it was cut more than a day before you bought it. If it was cut six to eight hours from the time you obtained it, you won’t need to re-trim it. Place your tree in water as soon as possible. The tree will absorb a lot of water its first week in your home. Check the water level daily and make sure it never falls below the cut end of the trunk. After placing your tree, make sure the area is free of any fire hazards like space heaters, fireplaces, or faulty wiring/ extension cords. To extend the longevity of your tree, keep it out of direct sunlight and away from excessive heat sources. With proper attention and care, your live Christmas tree will last throughout the holiday season!
Using an artificial tree? Make sure your tree is made of flame-resistant material. If you’re buying a pre-lit tree, make sure it has a UL-listed label. Read the instruction manual before assembling your tree, and make sure it’s secure once assembled. Never used damaged or frayed lights or extension cords, and try to limit your tree to three strands of lights. Never cover cords with rugs, as it could pose a fire hazard. Try to minimize the distance between your tree and a walkway, as cords could pose tripping hazards, especially for small children.
Whether you’re team artificial or live, there are a couple of universal rules: keep your trees away from sources of heat, make sure you turn off lights and décor before you go to bed or leave the house, don’t use damaged Christmas lights, limit your trees to three light strands per extension cord, and avoid hanging breakable ornaments with small parts on low branches. Happy decorating!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at 912-583-2240.