Finding the right Christmas tree

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Picking a Christmas tree can be quite the process of comparing what you want to what you can find. Being armed with a little extra knowledge -- both in selecting the tree and caring for it -- can make things a lot easier.

Kimball High, the owner of UT Christmas Tree at 11200 S. State in Sandy, told KSL about common types of Utah Christmas trees and how to properly care for them.

Popular trees in Utah

  • Noble Fir -- A sturdy, shapely tree with heavy branches, great for hanging heavy ornaments. It has more spaces between the branches and thicker needles than some other varieties. It will not dry out as quickly in sunlight and could last until February.
  • Grand Fir -- Most of its pine needles play out to the side. This is the most aromatic of the trees. It has a different color, almost a turquoise. No gaps in the rows.
  • Douglas Fir -- This is the most popular Christmas tree bought in America. Beautifully shaped, it sometimes has tips that look like pine cones on the ends. It's smaller, lighter, and doesn't do as well with heavy ornaments. It's cheaper in cost but doesn't do as well with sunlight.

When picking a tree, the most important thing is to determine the height of the room it will be displayed in. "You don't want to buy a 5-foot tree if you have a 25-foot ceiling," High said. Also consider furniture and placement, for example in a corner.

"This one here is a great Christmas tree from this angle," High said. "If you twist it around a little bit, you see there's a little bit of a gap, and that would be a great one for a corner. Maybe you have an ornament you want to fill in, but basically you want to put that back in the corner."

High also said sometimes you can ask the tree lot for a discount or a deal on a tree that has a gap in the branches.

Tree care tips

  • Get a fresh cut at the bottom of the tree, cutting off about an inch of the bottom. You want to expose fresh wood.
  • Put the tree in water within about an hour of getting it cut.
  • Don't let the water run out. Water the tree every day. For the first few days, water 1-2 gallons a day.
  • Add a tree preservative. You can find these at tree lots, nurseries and home improvement stores for a dollar or two. They're similar to a packet of flower food you'd add to fresh flowers.
  • Add about a tablespoon of bleach to the water. This cleans out the microbes from the stand and creates a clean environment.
  • Shut the blinds if you're not inside so the tree isn't getting too much sunlight.
  • Keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

New decorating ideas include using LED lights, which save a lot of energy. High said they use about 8 watts versus about 40 watts for incandescent bulbs. LED lights are three to four times more expensive to buy, but they last much longer and almost never burn out.

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