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Dirty Hands
Vail, CO Colorado

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November 25, 2012
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Dirty Hands: How to make your Christmas tree last this holiday season

The holiday season is upon us. Soon we will see blankets of snow and holiday lights everywhere. Below are tips on selecting and caring for your Christmas greenery so it is enjoyable from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

When selecting a tree, it is important to consider where it will be placed in your house. Take into account height added with your tree topper and tree stand. Also, consider the type of lights and ornaments you will place on the tree. Once you have these thoughts in mind, it is time to pick out a tree. Buying a fresh tree is very important. Choose one you find appealing, perhaps by its color and fragrance or according to the strength of the limbs. The limbs need to be strong enough to carry the weight of your lights and ornaments. Check the needles, are they resilient and flexible? Do they adhere to the branches? Slip the tip of a branch between your thumb and forefinger and gently slide. The needles should not fall off in your hand. Gently bump the trunk on the ground, do needles fall off of the main visible branches? Inside needle loss in pine trees is normal. Old needles may lodge against the branches, therefore dropping a few needles is common with a fresh tree.

Now that you've finally found the perfect Christmas tree, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your tree looks its best for as long as possible. If you bought a tree early to get the best selection, but don't plan on decorating it yet, leave it outside in the cold until a day or two before you intend to decorate it. You don't need to water it unless the temperature is above freezing. Spraying your tree with an anti-transpirant before you bring it in the house will seal in existing moisture to help retain color and increase needle retention. If your tree is going to be placed near a fireplace or candles, it is a good idea to spray it with a flame-retardant product developed especially for Christmas trees. Make a fresh cut at the bottom of the trunk before bringing it inside to allow for optimum water absorption. Immediately place your tree in water. Let it thaw completely before adding decorations. Your tree will drink heavily in the first few hours and throughout the first week. Keep an eye on the water level. Do not let it go dry. Adding a liquid tree preservative to the water reservoir will significantly prolong the freshness of your tree and minimize needle drop. See the recipe for a tree preservative you can make at home. To minimize watering, add a water retention gel to the water reservoir. Avoid disaster by making sure your tree stand is the appropriate size for the tree you have purchased. If your stand is too small or not rated for the tree you have, it could easily tip over. Tie wires may be necessary to support very large trees. Balance decorations on all sides of the tree to keep weight evenly distributed. If you are decorating only one side of the tree, tie wires can also be used to prevent tipping.

For more, detailed seasonal information, become a member of the Wildflower Farm. You'll receive the member's-only monthly newsletter and exclusive discounts.

Wildflower Farm is located in Edwards on U.S. Highway 6. Reach them at 970-926-5504 or digit@thewildflowerfarm.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Nov 25, 2012 04:14PM Published Nov 25, 2012 04:11PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.