Every year, over 30 million American families purchase natural Christmas trees to help celebrate the holiday season. The scent of evergreen trees, the adventure of choosing a new tree every year, and the feeling of bringing nature a little closer to home, all make “real” trees a Christmas tradition. At Bennett’s we offer a wide variety of cut, living and flocked trees. Here are a few tips to follow when choosing a natural tree.
Cut trees won’t last forever but they can remain beautiful and safe for the holiday season if chosen and cared for properly. When selecting a tree, check to see if the needles are resilient. On a fresh tree, the needles should adhere to the branch if you gently bend the branch towards you. Another test is to lift the tree a couple of inches off the ground, bounce it and see if the needles fall off in substantial amounts. Brown needles are often lodged in lower branches and these may fall out, but green needles will not drop from fresh trees.
At Bennett’s we offer many different varieties of trees. Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine, Fraser Fir, Concolor Fir, Balsam Fir, and White Pine are the most popular, each offering a different texture and appearance. Spruce trees are also attractive, but these trees should only be used inside the house for ten days or less. Your choice between these should be based on personal preference and length of usage.
Cut trees should be cared for as carefully as one would care for a cut flower. If you purchase your tree several days before you intend to decorate, store the tree outdoors in an area away from sun and wind and re-cut the trunk of the tree about one inch from the bottom. This allows the tree to take up water. Store the tree upright and place the tree in a container that allows water to cover the cut.
When bringing the tree in to decorate, make another cut across the trunk about an inch above the previous cut. Use a tree stand that holds approximately one gallon of water. Check your water level daily. Cut trees can drink two pints to one gallon of water every day. If the water level drops below the cut, a seal can form across the base of the trunk and a new cut will be necessary. A tree preservative, such as Vita Life, may be added to increase moisture retention. Spraying the tree before decoration with an anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Pruf, will also help prolong the life of the tree.
Except for Spruce trees, a natural-cut tree that is properly cared for can be kept indoors up to a month during the holiday season. Again, Spruce trees should be kept a maximum of ten days indoors.
At Bennett’s we also offer cut trees in a very different form. Flocked trees are actually cut trees with an artificial snow-like substance sprayed on the branches. Flock itself is a blend of rayon, cotton and cellulose mixed with glue that sticks to the needles. Flocked trees may be purchased in a variety of colors and sizes. White, blue, green, and pink are just a few of the colors available in sizes from three to 10 feet.
One benefit to flocking is it is fire-retardant after the material is applied. The process also helps seal moisture in the tree and keeps it fresh for two to three months. Flocked trees come on our own stands, and do not need daily watering to prevent moisture loss. So if you enjoy bringing a touch of snow into your Christmas decorations, remember Bennett’s for custom flocking.
A growing number of American homeowners are celebrating the season by purchasing a living tree that can then be transplanted outdoors after the holiday season. Bennett’s offers different varieties all hardy to this area. Choose from Green and Blue Spruce, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, White Pine or Hemlock to fit the look you want and your landscape plans.
To care for a living tree, a few precautions should be taken. Do not bring your tree in the house any earlier than three days before Christmas. A living balled and burlapped or potted tree should be kept indoors no longer than four or five days. Before the holidays, keep the tree outdoors away from sun and wind. An unheated garage will help the tree slowly adapt to indoor temperatures.
Keep the rootball moist at all times. Do not allow it to dry out before planting, avoiding excess shock to the plant. Decorate the tree with lights that give off very little heat. Make sure the tree is kept away from any direct heat source and drying air from heat ducts.
After the holidays, remove the tree to an unheated garage or porch and allow it to slowly adjust to the outdoor environment. Do not move it directly from a warm environment to freezing temperatures. In our climate, it is best to dig the hole before the ground freezes and put the soil in a protected area to keep it from getting wet or frozen. Ask a member of our staff for proper planting information. Bennett’s Nursery Cash and Carry Guarantee does not apply to plants sold as living Christmas Trees however, we are here to help you make the best choices when transplanting your tree.
Bennett’s hopes that this information helps ensure a safe and happy holiday season.