CARING FOR YOUR TREE
Real Christmas trees are environmentally friendly, renewable and recyclable. Proper care and watering is necessary to keep your Christmas tree fresh and fire resistant throughout the holiday season.
Caring for your Wreath
Choose a good location for your fresh wreath. Cool locations will keep your wreath looking fresh longer. Outside is the best place for your wreath but if you want it to be indoors, choose an area away from any heat source.
Rather than putting your wreath between your storm door and another door, hang it on the outside of your storm door. A fresh wreath between a storm door and another door will not last as long. The sun allows heat to become trapped between these doors causing a greenhouse effect that will quickly damage your wreath.
Before hanging your fresh wreath, you can give it a coating with aerosol hair spray. Hair spray will help keep moisture inside the needles and prolong the life of the wreath.
Caring for your Cut Tree
Real Christmas trees are environmentally friendly, renewable and recyclable. To keep your Christmas tree fresh and fire resistant throughout the holiday season, consider the following suggestions:
Cover the tree to prevent drying during transport.
Cut 1/2-1 inch off the base of the stem and place in warm water; protected from the wind and sun until you are ready to take indoors.
Before bringing indoors, cut another 1/2-1 inch off the base and use a stand designed to hold a gallon or more of water. A fresh cut tree can be kept fire safe by ensuring a supply of water.
Recycle your real tree after the holiday by placing in your yard for wildlife and adding fruit rinds, suet or feeders. Real trees can also be chipped and used for mulch. See the Harford County Tree Recycling information at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dpw/envaffairs/index.cfm?ID=435 or contact your local environmental recycling center.
Caring for your Balled Tree
One of the more enjoyable Christmas traditions is to replant a living Christmas tree into your landscape after the holiday season. Follow these guidelines to help your tree thrive.
Trees should be placed in a cool spot in the house, away from heat or direct sunlight. Small, low-temperature lights should be used rather than any older- style, heat-generating incandescent bulbs. Reducing the home thermostat
settings a few degrees (especially when the room is not occupied) can also slow the rate of drying.
Trees need to be watered regularly but not flooded with water. If a deep tub is used to contain the tree, there should only be an inch or two of water at the bottom – do not fill it to the brim. Roots need to breath. One technique for
watering living trees while they are displayed indoors is to periodically distribute crushed ice over the top of the root ball. Moisture retention of your tree can be further improved if you spray a light mist of water on the foliage (if that can be done without damaging ornaments or risking electrical shock). A full size tree can use as much as a gallon of water in a day.
Trees also have a better chance of survival if they are not displayed in the house for more than a week to ten days. Extended exposure to indoor temperatures can counteract winter dormancy. If the trees are set outside into severe cold after acclimating to indoor temperatures, they can be damaged. Different storage techniques to re-acclimate trees to outdoor temperatures are marginally effective if dormancy is already broken. However, if the ground is frozen when the tree needs to be moved outside, store the tree in an unheated area such as a garage or outbuilding that is protected from the wind until it can be planted (and don’t forget to keep it watered). A short display period and prompt planting is the best way to insure a tree’s survival in the landscape.
To plant, till an area four to five times the size of the root ball to a depth of 6 inches. Dig a planting hole the same diameter and slightly shallower than the root ball or container size. Natural burlap can be left on the ball, but remove
treated burlap or nylon and of course remove the plastic container. If a containerized tree is root bound, break up or divide any coiled or massed roots on the outside of the root system. Level the surrounding soil with the top of the
roots. After planting, spread two to three inches of mulch over the disturbed area. If the tree is in a windy location, tie and stake it to keep it from blowing over. Water the tree after planting, but wait to fertilize it until spring after the tree has started to grow. Do not over fertilize in the first year, especially with nitrogen, until roots have had a chance to become well established.
Other cultural practices are necessary if the planted tree is to thrive in its new environment. These practices include soil management, insect and disease management, and periodic shaping to maintain the "Christmas tree" look. A
homeowner must be willing to invest in ongoing maintenance to keep their tree beautiful. However, individuals who are successful can point with pride at their efforts, which will always remind them of the holiday season when the tree was planted.