Boy Scouts Offer Tips For Fresh Christmas Trees

tree sign cropped (400 x 348)Boy Scout Troop 495 is again selling your favorite Christmas Trees – Fraser and Douglas Firs, and Scotch Pines – from the Lowery Produce Stand across Main St. from Safeway in Chester.  In addition to trees, the Scouts will have a limited selection of Gourmet Trail’s End popcorn and trail mix for sale (the tins make great gifts), and Cub Scout Pack 495 will be on-site selling Christmas Wreaths.
The Troop recommends buying your tree early for the best selection and storing it in water in a cool, sheltered location until you’re ready to decorate to maintain its freshness.  This year’s sale will include more of the less expensive Scotch Pines and less of the 8-11’ Firs.  The sale starts at 12:30 Friday, November 27.  Weekend hours are 10-8:30, weekday 5:30-8:30.  Proceeds help fund camping trips for Scouts working the stand.

The Troop offers these tips for a choosing and keeping your trees fresh:

1.      Measure the space where your tree will be displayed and bring a tape measure so you don’t buy a tree too tall or wide for your room.

2.      To check for freshness, grasp a branch lightly and tug the needles through your hand. You should have minimal needles in your hand.  The needles of pines should bend and not break and should be hard to pull off the branches.  On fir species, a needle pulled from a fresh tree will snap when bent.

3.      Cut, or have us cut the base of the tree to remove at about 1 inch of wood before putting the tree in water.  Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis, not on an angle, and not into a v-shape.

4.      Ask us to net the tree for transporting, and bring an old blanket or tarp to protect it from drying out if it has to ride on top of your car.

5.      Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible – the fresh cut should stay open for up to 6 hours.  If you are not decorating the tree immediately store it in a pail of water in a cool location (garage, porch, sheltered corner outside) until you are ready to decorate.  Your tree will keep fresher longer when stored this way.  Refill the pail every day, never let the base of the trunk get dry.

6.      When you’re ready to move the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.

7.      Use a stand that fits your tree, don’t whittle the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand, buy a larger stand if necessary.

8.      Keep tree away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lower the room temperature to slow the drying process.

9.      The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.   Drilling a hole in the trunk does not increase water uptake.

10.  Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.

11.  Miniature lights produce less heat, and will reduce drying of the tree.

12.  Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree.  If worn, replace with a new set.

13.  Do not overload electrical circuits.

14.  Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

15.  Check the tree for freshness daily. Are the needles turning brown or coming off in handfuls?  Is there a pile of needles under the tree?  After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house. Check for recycling locations, or stand the tree in your yard to provide winter shelter for birds.