Friday, December 19, 2008

Caring for your Cut Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a wonderful part of the holiday season. Although artificial tree have taken some of the market away from “real” trees, still, millions of homes display real trees each year. Got mine yesterday and I was reminded of several things….they aren’t that expensive, they’re easy to put up, your wife thinks it’s great that you did it and they smell and look wonderful. If you want some more reasons real trees are a good idea, see the folks at the National Christmas Tree Growers Association. Sure, it’s their product but the website makes some great points.

On to real tree care…. for some reason people want to make tree care more complicated than it needs to be. Penn State Christmas tree specialist Rick Bates dispels many myths in a handy fact sheet. In a nut shell, keep plain old water in the reservoir of the tree stand at all times and everything is OK. Both Penn State and the Christmas Tree Growers think the fire hazard from Christmas trees is way overblown. I recall a very unscientific study my graduate school advisor (and Christmas tree grower) and I did one year in January. We tried to ignite dried out, discarded Christmas trees with a lighter. No luck. I am sure someone has done a better job demonstrating how hard it is to make them burn.

How about tree disposal? Many townships will help you turn that tree into chips. Or do it yourself with a pair of loppers. It takes five minutes to turn your tree into mulch. Ours becomes a bird sanctuary and lawn ornament until late winter.

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