18 December 8, 2010

At this time of the year, many of you will be setting up a Christmas tree. If you want to get the longest life out of your tree, there are some things you need to do to keep that tree fresh.

The most important thing you need to do is to make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree before you put the tree into the tree stand. You only need to cut off about an inch from the bottom of the trunk. This fresh cut allows the tree to take up water. Once you have made this fresh cut, place the tree into your tree stand and fill the stand with water. Depending on the type of tree and the height of the tree, your tree can take up 1 to 2 gallons of water in the first day. It is very important to check the water level several times a day during the first few days. If you allow the water level in the stand to drop below the fresh cut on the tree, the tree will close up that cut. The only way you will be able to get that tree to take up water again will be to make a new cut on the bottom of the tree. This is why it is so important to have a tree stand that will hold enough water and for you to frequently check the water level. After the first few days, the tree will begin to take up less water each day. Yes, it will still take up water, but not as much as it did when you first set up the tree.

It is also important to put your tree in a room that is cool. If you have a wood stove or some other source of heating that really puts out a lot of heat, that room is not the correct place for your tree. If you have forced warm air heat, avoid placing the tree in an area where a vent will direct the warm air onto the tree. Electric base board heat and other sources of baseboard heat should not be near the tree. Keeping the tree as cool as possible will make the tree last longer.

When you decorate the tree, always use the miniature lights. Tree lights with the large bulbs will generate heat that can dry out tree branches. The new style LED lights emit very little heat and are the best choice for decorating your tree. If you have had your tree lights for a year or so, make sure to check the lights for any signs of damaged wires or damaged sockets. If you see any damage, discard the lights and buy new lights for your tree. If you need to run extension cords, make sure the cord is rated to handle the amount of electricity needed by the number of lights you have on the tree. The tags attached to the lights and to the extension cord will give you the information you need. Also, be sure that the electrical circuit you are using can handle the extra electrical requirements of the tree lights and all of the other things using electricity on that circuit. Make sure that people stepping on the cord or any other source of wear and tear that could damage the cord does not damage any extension cords.

Finally, make sure that you have a big enough tree stand to hold up your tree. All of the stands have listed on the box how tall a tree the stand will hold. Every year, I hear stories about how people thought that the stand might be big enough, yet at some point in time, the tree falls over because the stand could not hold up the tree. After you have picked up the tree more than once and had to clean up the mess of water on the floor and broken ornaments and lights, you will see the wisdom in buying that bigger stand. In our store, we have tree stands that will hold up to a 14-foot tree. We also have stands for every other size smaller tree. Don’t skimp on using or buying a smaller size stand than the proper one for your tree. I don’t want you to be this years’ tree-came-crashing-down story!

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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