Christmas tree 101

2 minute(s) read Categories Indoor gardening

Christmas tree 101

It’s now time to choose your Christmas tree! Here’s all you need to know to pick the best natural tree for your needs and learn how to keep it looking great until D-day. 

When to buy a natural tree

Most natural Christmas trees can easily last up to four weeks, and sometimes even up to six, indoors. Therefore, buying it in early December is a good idea. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy its freshness to the fullest. 

Choosing a tree

Do not buy a Christmas tree if:

  • It was cut several days or weeks before, as it would dry out rapidly. Check the tree carefully to make sure it’s fresh.
  • It’s losing lots of needles or if many are brown. That’s not a good sign!

Christmas tree species

Two Christmas tree species are more common in Canada: the balsam fir and Fraser fir. The balsam fir is more odorous, while the Fraser fir looses fewer needles and remains better looking, longer. 

Usually, the balsam fir also has more flexible branches, which tend to bend more easily than the Fraser fir’s. Keep this in mind if you’re using large or heavy ornaments. 

Trimming the trunk base

To keep your tree as fresh as possible, you must cut the trunk just before placing it in its stand. Most natural Christmas tree sellers can do it for you. Otherwise, you don’t need to remove much (about 2 cm).

Choosing a stand for your tree

It’s essential to choose a stand the tree trunk can easily fit in. A natural Christmas tree “drinks” mostly through its outer layers, so it’s not necessary to drill holes to water it. 

How to water your Christmas tree

Your tree will need water in its stand on a regular basis. Depending on the species, the freshness of the tree and the tree itself, the amount of water taken up will vary. A fresh tree will absorb more water at the beginning. 

Once your Christmas tree is inside, the best is to completely fill the water reservoir. Then, check the water level daily and make sure the trunk is always soaked. 

To minimize the risk of fire, but mostly to keep the tree from drying out too quickly, it is essential to place it away from sources of heat, including heaters and warm air vents, but also woodstoves and fireplaces. It is even recommended to place your tree away from sunny windows. 

Christmas lights

Believe it or not, the type and amount of lights can greatly affect the freshness of your tree.  A lot of big lights could make your tree dry out faster. 

Instead, you should use smaller lights, ideally LED lights, whose power is very low. More importantly, they do not emit any heat, which will prolong the freshness of your tree. 

Your Christmas tree isn’t wood stove material

Never try to burn fir wood in a wood stove or fireplace. Indeed, that type of resinous tree will burn very quickly and too intensely for most domestic fireplaces.

Firs also give off creosote, which can build up in the chimney and cause a fire. Finally the resin can even cause an explosion. It’s a real household hazard. 

You’re now ready to choose the prettiest of trees!