Keep your Christmas tree safe and healthy

Spotlight Staff
People are reminded to keep Christmas trees healthy and safe as directed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

“Some species have more open foliage, stiffer branches or longer needles, and you may want to have an idea of your decorating theme before you pick your tree,” says Toso Bozic, woodlot extension specialist for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Here are a few tips for choosing and caring for a Christmas tree:

-Measure the height and width of the area where the tree will be displayed. Cultivated Christmas trees tend to have an 80 per cent taper. This means that a tree that is two metres tall will be approximately 1.6 metres wide (seven feet tall will be five-foot six-inches wide) at the bottom.

-The Christmas Tree Species webpage provides information about the characteristics of different species of trees that are sold as Christmas trees.

-Look for a retail lot that keeps its Christmas trees fresh in a protected area.

-Store the tree in a cool place, out of the wind and rain, until it is ready to be brought indoors.

-Place a tree moving bag under your tree, ready to be drawn up around the tree to make disposal easy in January.

-Ensure your tree stand is large enough to hold four liters (one gallon) of water as well as the trunk of the tree.

-When bringing the tree indoors, cut one to two centimetres (one half to three quarters of an inch) off the tree stump before placing it in water – the cut must be no more than four hours old, otherwise sap will seal the cut and prevent the water from rising, thus drying out the tree.

-The first water fill should be with very warm water enabling the sap to flow readily.

As the tree thaws, water will be drawn upwards replenishing the moisture to the extremities. No additives are required.

-Have a family member top up the water twice daily so the base of the tree never dries out.

Your tree will drink several liters of water every day for the first week or two.

-After the holidays, wrap the entire tree in the moving bag, and bring everything outside, including the stand, which can be easily removed once the tree is outdoors and on its side.

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