From the Desk of Ed Hume: How to Select a Cut Christmas Tree

November 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM Leave a comment

What’s your choice this year: a cut tree, flocked tree, a living tree, or an artificial Christmas tree?  If you’re thinking of choosing a cut tree, I have a few pointers I’d like to share with you.  I sold cut Christmas trees for several years in the ’50s and ’60s and what I am about to tell you are things I learned about choosing cut trees.  Wherever I buy the cut tree, here are the basic things I look for:

1) The minute you walk into the cut tree lot, look down to see if the ground is covered with green tree needles.  That’s a sign that the trees may not be fresh or that they were cut too soon, before an early frost could set the needles.  The problem is two fold: One, you may end up with a tree in your home with no needles on it.   Two, the tree could be a major fire hazard.  Don’t misunderstand me, a few needles on the ground are to be expected.  This comes from just from handling the cut trees.  But when there are a lot of them, it can mean trouble.  Do what I do, just turn around and go somewhere else.   Incidentally, brown needles are to be expected as those are from the interior of the tree…it’s just the green needles that I worry about.

2) If you don’t find that perfect tree within the first 15 to 20 minutes, stop looking and go have a cup of coffee or do something else.  I have found that after 15 to 20 minutes, all the trees begin to look the same.  Take a break before you start looking again, otherwise you are apt to choose the wrong tree.  Actually, this is not as much of a problem as it was 30 or 40 years ago, because the cut Christmas trees of today are pre-trimmed and shaped.

3) As soon as you get the tree home, cut about a ½ inch off the bottom (butt of the tree) and stand it in water.   Leave the tree outdoors in the water until you are ready to bring it inside for the holidays.  One exception is that if it gets cold or snows, you might want to put the tree in the garage during the cold spell.

4) When you bring the tree into the house, be certain to place it in a tree stand that has a water receptacle.  Check the water level daily to be certain the tree does not dry out.

5) Keep the cut tree away from heating ducts or heating elements of any kind.  I would also suggest you use low wattage or LED lights.

For more information on cut trees, check out my article on Christmas trees on our web site,  It also covers cut greens and treating and mailing cut holly.


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Clip of the Week: Saving Plants Indoors Ed’s Podcasts: Cut Christmas Trees

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