Selecting And Picking Your Christmas Tree

Enjoy your live decorated Christmas tree, even longer with these tips for choosing the best variety of evergreen trees can help you enjoy a safe holiday.

Each religion tends to have their own legend on how Christmas tree's were first used. Europeans performed morality based plays that depicted lessons of the Bible in medieval times. Trees were bare around December 24th when these plays were performed so they used an Evergreen tree hung with apples for their Garden of Eden backdrop.

Others believe the Christmas tree to have originated with Martin Luther, the founder of the protestant faith. Regardless of who is credited with bringing about the first Christmas tree, Christians believe that the evergreen is a symbol of the everlasting life that Christ gave to each of us.

Christmas trees were decorated and enjoyed by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria in 1841. After that, Christmas Trees grew quickly in popularity and wealthy English families, including Charles Dickens, wrote about many extravagantly dressed trees being on public display.

CHOOSING A CHRISTMAS TREE

Always try to choose a tree that is very fresh and wilL retain it's needles for as long as possible. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends bending one needle gently to see if it is flexible and not brittle. You can pick up the tree and bounce it gently on the ground to see if it shed many needles.

If you are buying from a dealer, ask where it was cut to determine how far it may have traveled.

North American Christmas trees are generally Pines, Spruces and Firs. Identifying trees can be helpful in learning about which needles to expect and in cutting a legal variety if you have a tree cutting permit.

SPRUCE TREES

Spruce Trees are known for their beautiful Christmas Tree shape and dark green needles. The needles have the poorest retention of all the trees. Both the Norway Spruce and the Red & White Spruce have a very fragrant smell.

PINE TREES

The Red Pine can retain its needles about 5-7 weeks and has long flexible needles that are generally darker green in color. It is grown primarily in New England and the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

The White Pine tree has blue colored needles and will usually only be sold in the Northeastern United States and the Pacific Coast.

Scotch Pines have stiff bluish-green needles and needles do not last quite as long as the Red Pine although they are grown in the approximately the same locations.

FIR TREES

Needles are blunt ended and soft to the touch, Firs have excellent needle retention so they are often shipped all over the United States. Balsam firs have horizontal branches perfect for ornamentation. The Douglas Fir is not really a true fir tree but is the most popular Christmas Tree in the Pacific Northwest. It's blue-green needles are thick and grows in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Mexico.

CUTTING A TREE

When you purchase your tree cutting permit ask for an area map were it is legal to harvest a tree. BLM offices will typically offer a pamphlet that will give you a description of what type of trees are legal to cut as well.

Prior to decorating, keep your tree in a cool place - not inside at room temperature. Make a fresh cut across the trunk of the tree right before you mount it on the tree stand for decorating. Give it fresh water right away and maintain the tree with about a gallon on water every few days.

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