Tips For Success With Your Live Christmas Tree

In Canada, the first Saturday in December is National Christmas Tree Day.
And with the help of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario, we wanted to get you set with tips to welcome your real tree home.

Make Room For The Tree
Living areas are often arranged with a focus on the television and/or fireplace. But as the holidays approach, you’ll want to make space for, and adjust your focus on, your Christmas tree. Geranium homes feature a 9’, 10’ and vaulted ceilings and some great rooms boast soaring cathedral ceilings, so there’s plenty of height for your tree.
Just remember, a bushy 6-or 7-foot tree takes up a lot of room; a good rule of thumb is to go tall rather than wide. Consider taking some furniture out of your room just for the holidays. Here are some more tips for arranging your room around your Christmas tree.

It’s a challenge to pick the perfect spot for your tree

Choosing Your Tree
The traditional choice of a fresh cut tree is still a popular one, and there are many variations to choose from. Select a fresh tree by checking for vibrant, green needles that don’t fall off easily when touched. A few brown needles on the inner branches are normal, but excessive needle shedding indicates a less fresh tree. Bend a needle between your forefinger and thumb. The needle should form a “U” without breaking.

Balsam and Fraser Firs are the top sellers; they hold their needles well and are a good choice if left standing for a long time. Balsam Firs are the most fragrant and are easily decorated. The strong branches of a Fraser Fir are turned slight upward which gives the tree a compact appearance.

White Pine – although the traditional White Pine is more natural looking, it’s also the hardest to decorate because of the long needles.

Scotch Pine – a popular choice, because it hardly sheds any of its needles. And the strong curved branches hold ornaments well.

White Spruce – has thick, heavy branches that are perfect for weightier ornaments. White Spruce needles produce a strong scent, so take a good sniff before taking one home.

Here’s a valuable guide to all tree varieties.

Setting Up Your Tree
When you bring your tree home, don’t bring it inside right away. Give it time to settle. The tree needs a fresh cut; often the tree farm will do this for you. If not, this should be your first step. It’s a good idea to soak the cut end in a large bucket overnight; the tree will soak up a lot of water. Shake off any loose needles and store it overnight in your garage if possible, letting it dry before you bring it inside.

Use a sturdy tree holder with a large reservoir for water and be sure when decorating to give yourself easy access to fill with water daily. Ensure the tree is securely positioned in its stand to prevent it from tipping over.

Once set up, your tree’s branches will continue to relax and fall into their final place. Let the branches unfurl completely before you start decorating. This helps ensure your ornaments won’t sag over time.

Taking Care of the Tree
Watering: The tree can absorb a lot of water, so ensure the stand is topped up with water regularly to prevent it from drying out. A good rule of thumb is to water it daily.

Trimming and maintenance: Periodically check the tree for any dry or dead branches and trim them to keep the tree healthy. Also, sweep or vacuum fallen needles regularly to maintain cleanliness.

Disposal: When the holiday season is over, dispose of the tree responsibly. Many areas have recycling programs where trees are collected and recycled into mulch or compost.

If a big tree won’t fit, or you’re looking for a more sustainable option, decorated miniature potted trees can be placed on either side of your fireplace to create a lovely focal point.

Potted Christmas trees are a nice alternative

Fragrance of a Fresh Tree
For many people, the fragrance of a fresh cut tree is what we’re after but we don’t want a real tree. Incorporating cuttings into table centrepieces or on fireplace mantles is a great way to have the scent and these can look very dramatic in a room. Or, consider a potpourri or room freshener with the evergreen scent. Here are some wonderful homemade potpourri recipes for the holidays.

Make your own natural centrepiece

Christmas Tree Farms, close to our communities

Drysdale’s, Egbert

Horton’s Home Farm, Aurora

Spademan Tree Farm, Port Perry

Tufford Tree Farm, Stouffville

Fraser’s Christmas Trees, Utopia and Barrie

Support your local Christmas Tree Farmers

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