Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hey tree questions ....woo-hoo!

Oh goodness ... some people get all worked up over the slightest things. Someone with Fox News called me today and said she was doing a story on the "controversy about what to call a Christmas Tree." Apparently there's a big hub-bub in Rhode Island (and a few other states) about this.

I recalled that several years back we asked something about that on our annual consumer poll to gauge just how much of a controversy it is. The question appeared on our Jan. 2006 poll (that would be the 2005 season to us). It was:

There recently has been much talk about how to refer to a Christmas tree. Some people say "Christmas Tree" is appropriate while others think that "Holiday Tree" is the right way to talk about the trees. In your own opinion, which name do you think is more appropriate to use?

97% answered “Christmas Tree”
3% answered “Holiday Tree”

Yeah, now I remember … at that point I was thinking “so what’s the controversy?” Oh well, as long as people buy a real one grown on a farm and not a fake, plastic one made in a factory, that's the important thing.

Here are some of the common questions coming in this week now that many people already got their tree for this year.

From: Daisy
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:28 PM
Subject: Christmas Tree Question

Hi, I’m hoping you can help me. We purchased a fresh 7’ Christmas Tree 2 days ago. The sellers claimed the tree was just cut the day before. Once we got home, we cut off 3” from the bottom, placed it in the stand, and immediately filled it with water. In past years, I recall a tree drinking A LOT during the first week where I need to fill the stand twice/day before the water gets too low. However, with this tree, it’s not drinking much water. It has only been going down an inch/day.

Was this tree cut far more than 2 days before we purchased it? I’m concerned it’ll completely dry out before Christmas. Before I decorate the tree, should we throw this one out and get another one?

Even if the tree was harvested more than 2 days ago, it has been in a state of dormancy since late summer / early fall. The rate of water absorption will vary throughout the time it is displayed. Some days it will absorb a lot, some days not so much. This is normal. It can take some time for the plant to come out of a state of dormancy. Just keep the stand filled with water because it can absorb A LOT of water in a short period of time once it starts.

From: Harlan
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 11:39 AM
Subject: Christmas tree question

We bought an 8 foot Fraser Fur, that unfortunately, required cutting off several large branches so it would fit in the stand, which, made the tree somewhat sparse on the bottom. I would like to drill a few small holes in the trunk, above the stand, to fill in the bottom of the tree, with the branches I previously cut off. Is that OK to do? I will not drill the holes deep enough to weaken the trunk. The branches have been sitting in water. Will they last through Christmas or dry out too fast?

Think of the tree branches in the same way as cut flowers. The longer the stem of the plant is out of water, the quicker it will dry out.

From: Jon
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:55 PM
Subject: Cut tree displayed outside in cold weather

Our house is small. We would like to put a real tree out side on our front porch. We live in Maine and would purchase the tree on Saturday, December 10th, and would like to display it until January 2nd. It will be below freezing much of the time. What recommendations do you have for keeping a cut tree from drying out in this situation?

I'd recommend displaying the tree in a water holding stand, even if it's very cold outside. If the water freezes in the stand, that won't hurt the tree, and it will have water available if it does get warm enough to absorb some.

Keep the questions coming!


Cortney said...

How long does a live tree last? If we purchase one this weekend, Dec 4, will it last till January 1? We keep our home around 67 degrees. Does it matter that we buy a very tall tree, like around 14 feet?
Thank you! Great Site!

Anonymous said...

I bought a pre-cut tree on thurs Dec 1st, the tree is shedding needles like crazy today. I have kept the water almost to the top of the stand. Is there anything else I can do to keep it from drying out so quickly? I haven't even decorated it yet.

Rick Dungey said...

We know people who keep their tree fresh and maintain needle retention for up to 3 months. The main thing to remember is to cut 1/2 inch or so off the bottom of the trunk just before putting in the stand and filling with water. The tree will absorb the most water in the initial 1 or 2 days as it rehydrates up to 98% capacity.
Even if you are not putting the tree up right away, you can bring it home, make a fresh cut, keep it in the netting, and put into a large bucket of water in the garage. The tree will be rehydrating out of the sun and wind and be fresh for when you are ready to bring into the home and put up to decorate.