Christmas, Noël, Feliz Navidad, it is known by several names, but one tradition that remains constant is that of the Christmas tree: the beautiful, radiant green, conical tree embellished with intricate ornaments. Nothing replaces the feel of getting a live tree; the freshness, the smell, the colour, the look. Simply everything about it exudes the holiday spirit. But there is a lot to know about picking, transporting and maintaining a live tree, and in this article, we will take a look at all the essential steps required to keep the tree fresh and breathing through the season and make the most out of the festive cheer. Let’s begin!

Picking a tree

First things first, you have to start by choosing the kind of tree you want to invest in; There are several options available and they all come with their set of advantages. We’ve listed  down a few favourites across the world.

Douglas fir: This type, Douglas Fir has soft, greenish blue needles. It also has high needle retention capacity as compared to the other variants. This is a good way to go if you are looking for something that doesn’t require frequent vacuuming and stands strong.

Fraser fir: Another variant that does well in the market, just like Douglas fir, Fraser Fir also has a good needle retention capacity and is easy to handle and maintain.

Colorado blue spruce: The tree, Colorado Blue Spruce derives its name from the bluish-grey colour it sports. It grows dense and in a conical shape. This variant has sturdy branches and sharp needles.

Norwegian spruce: Norwegian Spruce, The northern European variant has a beautiful deep green colour, shiny needles and dense branches. It, however, does not have a good enough needle retention capability, so it is advisable to buy it as close to Christmas day as possible.

Concolor fir: Concolor fir, If you love that Christmasy smell, this one’s for you. It has a beautiful citrusy scent that will immediately radiate festivity. The tree has a natural conical shape and retains the needles well.

White Pine: This variant, the White Pine has a blue-green colour, heavier on the bluish side; and has flexible needles. This tree, however, does not hold well against heavy ornaments, neither is the aroma strong enough.

Some of the other variants are Macrocarpa, Scots Pines, Gregg’s Pines, Austrian Pines, and Lawson’s Cyprus etc. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, as different individuals have different preferences and will suit your specific need.

Transporting the tree

It is typically best to transport trees in cars or trucks. if you don’t own one, it might be a good idea to get rental trucks or hire car services, as wrangling a tree into a small space is sure to damage your tree. It is always advised to place the tree inside the car for transportation if possible. However, if you are going to put it on the roof of a vehicle, it is best to cover it with a bag to avoid wind damage. Also, ensure you drive smoothly to avoid causing any damage to the tree. It’s a good idea to make sure your car has its up to date WoF (warrant of fitness) as well, in case of any accident with transporting the tree.

While you can certainly load the tree yourself if you’ve got the strength and the height, you’ll want to avoid pulling and tugging at the needles. Alternatively, and especially for the very large trees, you can have reach forklifts to do the job for you, or even a high reach forklift if you’re loading on top of a large truck.

Most people load the tree with the cut end of the tree facing the back on a truck. This is a huge mistake, as it drives the wind into the branches making them blow back, which ends up damaging the needles and further damage to the tree. The right idea is to put the narrow end or top end facing the front of the car so that the tree maintain its shape and is healthy looking when you unload it and put it in your living room.

Some measures that come in handy while picking and wrapping the tree are to always measure the interior and the back of the car to ensure you have enough space to transport it without a glitch. While most trees will be sold with the nettings, you’ll want to shake the tree to free any loose needles and then wrap it in a blanket or a trap if they don’t. Point it in the right direction and lastly, secure it in place by tying it down. Here’s an article that dives into the details.

Caring for the tree

First things first. Once you get the tree home, place it in a water holding stand and fill it with warm water, as this helps boost the circulation of the tree. You can then fill it with room-temperature water, but ensure that the water never runs out or else the tree will dry out and wither. Please also do not drill a hole in the trunk, as it simply damages the tree and in no way helps the tree’s water intake capacity.

Keep the tree away from heating vents, candles, fireplaces and other heat radiating devices, as the trees can get burn marks which mars the look of the tree. Even worse, don’t let your festivities go up in flames. To avoid any fire hazards make sure the lights don’t have any fray wires, faulty socket and weird kinks. Make sure the ornaments are non-flammable or fire-retardant.

A healthy tree should last around 5 weeks, but a surefire way to know your tree is spent is when it starts shedding more needles than usual. If the tree is too dry, you’ll likely need to remove it from the house. After the festive season, remember to properly dispose of your tree. Here’s a guide on the process of recycling your Christmas tree.

Remember to keep all of these tips in mind when you head out this holiday season. Always buy from a trusted source as you’re more likely to get the best deal, and the best tree for you. Happy Holidays!

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