Taking care of your Christmas tree

By NELSON WYNN / Guest Columnist

Last week’s column discussed how to pick out the perfect tree. Once you bring your tree home, there are a few tips for care and display for lasting quality.

-When cut, more than half the tree is water; therefore it will need water to keep its fresh appearance. Place the tree trunk base in a bucket of water and store it in a cool place as soon as you get it home.

-When preparing to place the tree in the stand, remove a half-inch thick disc of wood from the bottom of the trunk making a nice clean, straight cut. Place the tree in the stand, and add water. Remember, the stand should fit the tree trunk size and hold enough water to provide one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter. Never shave the trunk to fit the stand as this will result in the tree being unable to take up water.

-Check the stand daily to be sure the water level does not drop below the stem of the tree.

-Lowering the temperature of the area where the tree is displayed will help delay the process of drying out. It’s also important to keep the tree away from heat sources such as sunlight, fireplaces and heat vents.

-For safety’s sake, never keep a tree in the home once it becomes dry or brittle. When you dispose of your tree, try to recycle it. Many tree farms or lots take trees back, or you may contact your town hall for information on recycling after the holidays. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

For more information on Christmas tree selection, care and safety, contact your local county extension office or visit the National Christmas Tree Association website.

Nelson Wynn is an extension agent with the Shelby County Extension Office. He can be reached by email at wynnnel@aces.edu.