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How to: Select a Fresh Cut Live Christmas Tree
by State-by-State Gardening - posted 11/27/15


How to: Select a Fresh Cut Live Christmas Tree
 - Video Transcript, Demonstration by Kerry Heafner

Today we’re going to show you how to select that perfect live Christmas Tree.
Now the first thing to consider when selecting a live Christmas tree is the height of the tree vs the height of the room it’s going in. Make sure you select a live tree that is going to be proportional to the height of the ceiling in the room the tree is going to be standing in. So, when you go to a Christmas tree farm they’ll often times have these poles marked off at different heights. Now, this tree is approximately 8-feet tall, which means, when you get it in the stand it’s going to be at least a foot taller. So, make sure the room that this tree will go in has a ceiling that’s at least 10-feet tall.

Now, in addition to height, we have to think about the other end of the tree and take some time to lift the bottom branches away and have a look at the trunk. Having a straight trunk on a live Christmas tree is going to be important in terms of setting it up on the stand. Generally, you’ll find that on something like a leyland cypress, the trunk is going to be very straight and uniform. On the other hand, trees like this Carolina sapphire cedar, can often times have a trunk that grows a little crooked throughout the growing season, and that will affect how the tree sits in the stand after its been cut.

Another thing you want to look for when selecting a live Christmas tree is the overall shape. And, we all think of the perfect Christmas tree having a perfect conical shape, and the fact is that they’re pruned to have that shape. The growers come in periodically and prune the trees so that they look like that perfect Christmas tree that we all think of.

Rub your hand across the Christmas tree and feel the needles. The branches should be soft and playable, and the needles should not easily fall away from the tree. You also want to make sure the tree is uniformly green, and every once in awhile you’ll see a tree that will have some dead growth in it. For example, if you look at this leyland cypress, you’ll some a few brown branches mixed in with the green ones. Typically, the grower will have those pruned away so there’s not a hazard if you’re going to use electric lights.  

So there you have some basic tips for selecting that perfect live Christmas tree. For State-by-State Gardening, I’m Kerry Heafner.


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