Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved
ASK A SPECIALIST: DO YOU HAVE TIPS ON BUYING AND CARING FOR A FRESH-CUT CHRISTMAS TREE?
Answer by: Michael Kuhns, Utah State University Extension Forestry Specialist
A fresh-cut Christmas tree can delight the holiday senses. However, most live Christmas trees in Utah are not grown here. They are usually brought in from other states. The following are suggestions on where to obtain freshly cut, Utah-grown Christmas trees. Land management agencies. Christmas tree permits (for both individual tree buyers and commercial cutters) are sometimes available from Utah's land management agencies.
Call your local agency office for up-to-date information.
Agencies that sometimes have trees available are the USDA Forest Service at http://www.fs.fed.us/ (click on “By State” box and enter Utah to get Utah National Forest information)
Bureau of Land Management at http://www.ut.blm.gov/ (click on “Directory” for a listing of field offices)
Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands at http://www.ffsl.utah.gov/ (click on “About Us” for a list of area offices).
Tree lots. Occasionally you may find tree lots that sell pre-cut trees harvested live from Utah’s forests. These can be excellent places to get a fresh tree. Tree species you are likely to find on these lots include pinyon pine, subalpine fir, Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine.
Choose-and-cut trees. Utah has relatively few businesses that sell locally grown Christmas trees.
Visit http://extension.usu.edu/forestry/HomeTown/General\_UtahChristmasTrees.htm to see several Utah listings.
Once you’ve selected the perfect tree and brought it home, consider these tips for care.
Re-cut a thin section from the butt end and place the tree in a pail of water until you are ready to decorate it. Keep the tree outside and away from sun and wind so it does not become dry. When you are ready to bring the tree in, cut the butt end again if it has been stored more than three or four days.
This cut section can be hung with a ribbon and made into an ornament by marking the rings with significant years in your family’s history. Most sections will have seven to 10 growth rings.
The tree should be placed in a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water. A fresh tree can lose this much or more water a day. Place the tree away from heaters, furnace vents, televisions and other heat sources.
Lights on the tree should be UL approved and protected by an inline fuse. Small pinpoint lights work well because they stay cool. Don't be sentimental about old Christmas tree lights. Old lights with cracked insulation or loose sockets should be discarded.
Turn lights off when the tree is unattended. Flammable decorations should not be used on a Christmas tree with electric lights. Candles should never be used to light a Christmas tree or wreath.
A fresh tree that is watered daily can stay moist and safe for several weeks. If a tree is displayed in a public building, it should be kept no longer than 15 days and should be treated with a fire retardant solution.
Christmas trees can be useful even after they are taken down. Trees can be placed in the yard to add greenery and act as a bird haven until spring. They can also be used for firewood or chopped and used as mulch.
Many communities have programs to gather trees to be chipped as mulch or used for other purposes after the holidays.