Saskatoon

5 things to know about picking fresh Christmas trees

There's nothing quite like the scent of a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Here's what to know about picking and maintaining your tree before grabbing the decorations and tinsel.

Buying local, testing pines, and lots of water are key

When it comes to purchasing a fresh Christmas tree, there are a few things you should know. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

The experience of having a real Christmas tree is hard to beat but they can also be messy if you don`t know how to keep the needles fresh.

Before Santa comes, it's important to choose the right tree and learn how to keep it healthy, according to Grant Wood, assistant professor in the department of plant sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. 

The type of tree matters

Wood said fir trees and pine trees maintain their needles the longest. If a spruce tree is bought locally and closer to the holiday season, it will also be fine.

Local trees are best

Wood said it's best to check out local tree grower association websites to find places nearby to buy a tree. 

Test the tree before you buy

The best way to test freshness is by bending the branches to make sure they are pliable. Wood suggested banging the tree on the ground a few times and if a lot of needles fall off the tree, it is already dry.

You should pull your hand backward against the needles to make sure they bend and don't break off.

Get your tree in water

Once you find the perfect tree and get it home, cut two or three inches off the bottom. Wood said it`s important to do the trim because the sap has solidified and new vessels need to be opened to allow water into the tree.

Immediately put the tree into approximately one gallon of warm water. Wood explained that during the first week in particular the tree will need a lot of water to keep the needles fresh.  

Trees are recyclable

Once the gifts are unwrapped and the cookies have been eaten, trees can have another life if they are brought to a tree lot. Wood said they are ground up and used as mulch or in compost.
 

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