Published November 28, 2022

Christmas Tree Care: Your Guide To Having A Real Tree This Holiday

Nothing says Christmas like a fresh cut tree!
Real christmas tree in truck

This Barrie 360 content is brought to you by Canadian Equipment Outfitters

There’s just something about the smell of a fresh cut tree that can’t be beat and it definitely gets you in the Christmas spirit. Not to mention, cutting your own tree is a great activity to do with the family and it’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the winter weather.

If you’re thinking about using a real tree this Christmas, here’s what you need to know …

Where to get your tree: You can either cut your own tree or buy one from a tree farm or garden center. If you’re cutting your own, make sure you have the proper permission and equipment.

When to get your tree: The best time to cut your own tree is late November to early December. If you’re buying a tree, it’s best to do so closer to Christmas so it will stay fresh longer.

When to take your tree down: Your tree should last for about four to six weeks depending on the type of tree and how well you care for it. Once Christmas is over, carefully remove all the decorations and dispose of the tree properly.

What to do with your old tree: When a real Christmas tree starts to die, you can either compost it or put it on the curb to be picked up.

Did You Know There's A Christmas Tree Shortage This Year? We Talk About It In Our Podcast

What Kind Of Tree To Choose

The tree you choose depends on your personal preferences including size, the looks of the needles, sturdiness, fullness and more. The good news is, there are many different types of real Christmas trees to choose from.

Here are some common trees that are used as Christmas trees:

  • Douglas fir - These are one of the most popular Christmas trees. They have a classic shape, are relatively inexpensive and are easy to find and care for.
  • Fraser fir - This tree is also very popular thanks to its strong branches, soft needles and pleasant smell.
  • Scots pine - A popular tree in Europe, Scots pines were brought to Canada by Christmas tree farmers. They have thick hardy needles and are one of the more sustainable trees.
  • White spruce - These trees have a beautiful colour and short stiff needles that are great for hanging ornament.
  • White pine - This tree is pretty to look at but tough to decorate due to its soft needle. Generally has a softer scent, making it a good tree for people with allergies.
  • Colorado spruce - While not native to Canada, there are plenty of Colorado Blue Spruce available in our area. They have beautiful full branches that are perfect for ornaments.
  • Balsam fir - Easy to find Christmas tree with a nice smell and little pollen production. They also have great needle retention and dense branches.

Tips For Picking The Best Tree

Here are a few tips to help you choose and care for your real Christmas tree:

  1. Check for freshness: A fresh tree should have green, flexible needles that don’t fall off easily and a pleasant fragrance.
  2. Check the trunk: If your tree was precut, the trunk of your tree should be sticky to the touch. If it's not, the tree is probably too dry.
  3. Avoid trees with brown needles: This is a sign that the tree is old and dried out.
  4. Consider the height of your ceilings: It’s important to make sure it is the right size for your home. You don't want a tree that is too big or too small.
  5. Measure the width of your tree stand: Make sure the stand is big enough to support your tree.

How To Cut Down Your Own Tree

If you’re cutting down your own tree, you will need a sharp chainsaw or handsaw. Once you have one, it’s time to cut:

  1. Find the spot on the trunk of the tree where you want to make your cut. The cut should be about 4 to 6 inches from the ground.
  2. Place the saw at the spot where you want to make your cut and start cutting.
  3. Once the tree is cut, remove any branches or leaves that are below the cut. You do this by cutting the branch or leaf off at the base of the tree.

Now, you are ready to take your tree home and decorate it! If you are taking the tree home in your car, be sure to secure it so it doesn't fall over and damage your car or hurt anyone.

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How To Care For Your Tree

Once you have your tree home, you want to make sure you do what you can to help thrive.

Put it in the stand: Before you do anything else, make a fresh cut on the trunk and put the tree in water as soon as possible.

Make Sure Your Tree Is Secure: The last thing you want is for your tree to topple over and damage your belongings or worse, hurt someone. Make sure you use a sturdy tree stand and that it’s the correct size for your tree. You should also make sure to anchor your tree to something so it doesn’t move.

Water Your Tree: A Christmas tree can absorb a gallon of water or more in the first few days. Be sure your tree stand can hold at least 1 gallon of water or refill it often. Once it has settled, you want to check the water level daily and top it off.

Keep the tree away from heat sources: This will prevent water from evaporating and stop your tree from drying out so it lasts longer.

Use The Right Lights: Be sure to use appropriate holiday lights that are certified by an independent testing laboratory. Be sure to inspect your lights each year before use and discard any damaged ones.

Don’t forget to vacuum: A real tree can drop a lot of needles, so make sure to vacuum around the tree regularly.

Use these tips and you’ll have a beautiful, fresh Christmas tree that will last throughout the holiday season!

We hope this guide helps you have a wonderful Christmas!

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