Tips on Selecting a Christmas Tree

Your home reflects your style, and your style says a lot about who you are. So what should you do this holiday season about “the tree?”

If you decide a pre-cut or a choose-and-cut tree is best for your family, the Georgia Forestry Commission has some tips to help you find a fresh tree. Visit www.gatrees.org and click on “Christmas Tree Directory” for a county-by-county list of places to buy choose-and-cut trees or living trees that come in burlap bags or containers.

Buying a locally grown tree supports local growers and is good for the economy. Many attractive species are produced in Georgia, including: Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Virginia pine and Leyland Cypress.

For optimal stability, choose a symmetrical tree with a straight main stem. Make sure the tree’s needles are still firmly attached to the tree. All trees will drop their needles when they dry out, but if your tree is shedding before you get it home, you’ll be sweeping or vacuuming your holiday away.

If you’ve chosen a pre-cut tree from a local lot, trim an inch or two off the butt end and place the tree in water right away. Choose-and-cut trees must also be quickly put in water. The vessels at the end of a tree are usually blocked with dirt and/or sap after harvest and transportation. A fresh cut allows the tree to take up water from the tree stand.

For balled-in-burlap or potted trees, always be sure to keep the root ball moist, but not saturated. Indoors is a stressful environment for a living plant, so limit the tree’s time in the house and transplant it as soon as possible. Potted trees can be set outside after the holidays; keep them watered and plant by March. Balled-in-burlap trees should be planted as soon as possible after Christmas so the roots don’t dry out.

To close the season, get tree-planting tips from www.gatrees.org. Then, have the family help dig a hole where you can plant your tree and grow nice memories of Christmas 2011!

Source: Georgia Forestry Commission, http://www.gfc.state.ga.us/