The First Real Christmas

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Advice for First-Time Buyers of Real Trees

These are commercial wholesale farms who often sell high-quality trees out the front door and smaller tree farms catering to "cutting your own tree". These types of Christmas tree farms promote early sales in designated sections where Christmas trees are of age and in prime shape. Obviously, these areas yield better trees at the beginning of the season, and it's when you need to plan your visit.

Farms selling trees online actually insist you place your order early in November.

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Although pricey, I've found holiday trees purchased on the Internet to be of higher quality than even the premium selects growing on a tree farm. These trees are the grower's "best of the season" crop and harvested first. They will arrive in perfect condition and are stand-ready some farms even provide temporary stands with the tree. Instead of having to pick the perfect tree, you have professionals select the best for your holiday season.

Most people don't realize that many Christmas trees bought on lots were cut in early to mid-November. So, when these trees are not purchased until after Thanksgiving, the drying process is well advanced and needle retention is often compromised.

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You are just as well off, and in our opinion much better off, buying the tree early and following our recommendations on how to prepare it for optimum freshness over the rest of the season. Although you just might luck out and get a fresh tree late in the season, you should not consider yourself getting a fresh tree by purchasing after Thanksgiving weekend. You just get a lower quality tree picked over with shedding needles as you delay your purchase.

The sooner you get your Christmas tree in a watering stand after cutting, the longer will be the tree's needle retention. The above reasons are the perfect excuse to buy a tree early and enjoying it during the Thanksgiving season.


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Gently pull on the end of the branch with your thumb and forefinger. Fresh trees should hold onto all their needles. If a tree loses needles when you do the pull test, keep looking. For many people, the most stress-inducing step of having a real Christmas tree is putting the tree in a stand and getting it to stand straight.

A simple way around this issue is using a drill stand. Many tree lots, choose-and cut-farms and retail lots will drill trees with specially-designed drills that match the pin in the stand, ensuring trees stand upright and straight. For traditional, screw-in stands, recognize that this is a two-person job.

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Place the stand on the bottom of the tree before standing the tree up. The best plan of attack is to have one person adjust the tightening screws on the stand while the second person adjusts the tree and checks for straightness. Tree farm attendants drill for the base of a tree for a pin-type tree stand. For all types of tree stands, keep the baling twine on the tree until the tree is in the stand and upright.

This keeps the tree compact and easier to handle as you bring it in the house and get it situated in the stand. Consider these tips in order to reduce the mess of getting a tree out of the house after the holidays. Use a turkey baster or a large sponge to transfer any water remaining in the tree stand to a bucket or plastic container. To reduce the amount of needles lost while taking the tree out, lay a bedsheet on the floor and gently lay the tree down on it.

Wrap the sheet around the tree to collect any loose needles they may come off while taking the tree out of the house. Recycle your tree at the end of the holidays.

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Is a plastic Christmas tree more sustainable than a real one? | Environment | The Guardian

Some communities have curbside tree pick-up for recycling and many others have central drop-off points. Check your local paper or community websites for recycling options in your area. For more tips on recycling and interactive maps of choose-and-cut and retail lots in Michigan, visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Tips for success with your first real Christmas tree. Where to put your tree Before buying your tree, decide where in your home you are going to display the tree. Real Christmas tree options: Pre-cut versus choose-and-cut Consumers can buy trees already cut at a tree lot or they can cut their own at a choose-and-cut farm.

How to choose a Christmas tree: A complete guide to real vs artificial

Setting up your tree in a stand For many people, the most stress-inducing step of having a real Christmas tree is putting the tree in a stand and getting it to stand straight. Pin- or spike-type stands can make tree set-up easier. Photo by Wahmhoff Farms. Take-down tips Consider these tips in order to reduce the mess of getting a tree out of the house after the holidays. Recycling: The last step Recycle your tree at the end of the holidays. More information on selecting and caring for your Christmas tree from MSU Extension Articles: Choosing the right Christmas tree Christmas trees for connoisseurs: Try an exotic species this year Living Christmas trees: Another real tree option Water is the essential ingredient in keeping your real Christmas tree fresh Why is my Christmas tree beginning to grow?

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