Real or Artificial Tree Its the Family Time that Matters

Dora Ann Hatch  |  11/11/2011 3:31:46 AM

Dora Ann Hatch is the Agritourism Coordinator for the LSU AgCenter.

Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to begin preparing for the Christmas holidays. Although the Christmas season can be hectic, it’s still a favorite time of year for me. Each year I look forward to decorating my home and grounds, attending social gatherings with family and friends and enjoying my family’s traditions of the season.

One family tradition most families celebrate is putting up a Christmas tree. Christmas tree farms open the day after Thanksgiving and continue to sell trees until Christmas Eve. If you are going to buy a tree from one of these farms, select one that offers trees and entertainment for the family. Many of us are online shoppers and that’s a great place to search for a Christmas tree farm. Some of my favorite search sites are:

These sites have names and addresses of several Louisiana growers in our area. At this time of year, you also see lots of signs on the road directing shoppers to Christmas tree farms.

Not everyone can enjoy the fresh smell of a Christmas tree without health issues. Artificial trees are a good choice for people who have allergies. If you are shopping for an artificial tree, take someone along and make the trip memorable. If it’s last year’s tree and it’s coming down from the attic, don’t do it alone. Invite friends and family to share in your tradition of setting up the tree. Remember, the most important thing about the Christmas tree tradition is sharing time together with those you love.

Whether you buy a tree from a Christmas tree farm or go to a Christmas tree lot, some of the same principles in tree selection and care will apply.

Live trees can last for weeks if properly cared for. Here are some suggestions:

Remove a ½ inch disk of wood from the base of the trunk before placing the tree in the stand. This cut should be perpendicular to the tree; cutting at an angle or using a “v” cut will make it difficult to place in the tree stand.

Select a tree stand that has a bowl that can accommodate water. The recommended bowl size is one quart of water per inch of tree diameter.

Select a stand that accommodates the diameter of your tree. For best results, never whittle down the tree to fit the stand, you will be removing the outer layer of wood that is the most efficient in taking up water.

Water the tree immediately when you arrive home; if you are not ready to place it in the stand, put it in a bucket with water. Keeping your tree hydrated will prevent browning and needle loss.

Water the tree daily; make sure that the base of the tree is standing in water. The temperature of the water is not important; either hot or cold works.

Finally, place your tree away from heat sources: fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight. Lowering your thermostat is also recommended.

Select lights with low heat to reduce the drying of the tree. Inspect your light sets for safety before hanging them on the tree. Use an extension cord or multi-plug device to avoid an electrical overload.

For any questions, please contact me.

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