Nov 26, 2010 5:40 PM by Zach Thaxton
The day after Thanksgiving often means searching Christmas tree lots for the perfect family tree, but there are some tips that can help ensure your tree makes it through the holidays without drying out and dropping its needles.
Jeremy Andrews' family has operated Collins Christmas Trees in Colorado Springs since 1947. He says the when and where a tree was cut are the key factors in determining how long it will last in your home. Andrews says trees grown on farms in cold-weather climates are best suited for Colorado homes. Most of his trees come from northern Oregon. "They get the same winter we do," Andrews said. He says trees harvested from California and Arizona are not suited for Colorado's sub-freezing overnight temperatures and could dry out before being purchased. Andrews also says trees sent straight from the farms are much better than those shipped by brokers. He says trees sent by brokers are often cut a month before arriving at the tree lots. Those shipped directly from tree farms usually arrive on the lot within a week of being cut.
"The first thing everybody wants to know is what's the best tree. What do you sell the most of," Andrews said. The answer: "Noble Fir. They're the very most popular tree." Andrews says Noble Firs are very symmetrical and have hearty branches that can hold heavy ornaments. He says Fraser Firs keep their needles longer than other firs. While Douglas Firs are popular, Andrews says their quality is poor and he no longer carries them.
Once you decide on a tree, saw an inch off the bottom of the trunk. Many tree lots can do this for you or you can do it at home. This allows water in the stand to soak in through the bark and move up through the trunk. As for the water, Andrews suggests adding 1/4 can of Sprite or 7-UP to the water. The sugar is good for the tree.
When you set the tree up in your home, location is key. Andrews advises keeping the tree away from heat registers or at least covering nearby heat registers. Many people prefer to place their Christmas tree in front of a window. "During the day, close the blinds," Andrews advises. "The window acts as a magnifying glass and it'll fry the tree."
For those concerned about the environmental implications of purchasing a live tree, Andrews likens it to farm-fresh produce or livestock from a ranch. "These trees are all grown on a farm. They're grown specifically for Christmas trees," Andrews said. "Once the tree is harvested, they re-plant. There will be another tree growing there again next year."
Andrews says trees ranging from 5 to 7 feet in height can range in price from $35 to $60. Prices can vary from lot to lot.