'Tis the season for stringing lights and hanging ornaments. But before all of the decorating can be done, the perfect Christmas tree must be selected.
Blaine Carter, owner and operator of Carter Christmas Tree Farm on Lewiston Road, shares tips on selecting a live Christmas tree.
"Trees that grow on the farm are by far the freshest, so you really don't need to worry about those," said Carter, adding that his family owned business sells cut-your-own trees, as well as Fraser firs shipped in from North Carolina. "There is no fresher tree than one you cut down yourself. Those are the freshest around."
Those selecting a tree that has been cut elsewhere and shipped to our area will need to take extra care in selecting it. To pick the freshest tree on the lot, conduct what Carter refers to as the "freshness test" -- gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you.
"Very few needles should come off in your hand if the tree is fresh," said Carter, who sold more than 600 trees at his farm last year. "Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. You should not see an excessive amount of green needles fall to the ground. Some loss of interior brown needles is normal and will occur over the lifetime of the tree."
After finding a tree, it's important to make sure to get it into water as soon as possible.
"Just like if your husband or significant other brought you flowers and you put them in water right away, you want to do the same thing with your tree," said Carter. "After four to six hours, a sap seal will form over the bottom of the trunk that will keep the tree from absorbing water."
Before putting the tree in water, give the trunk a fresh cut and put the tree in a stand that holds at least a gallon of water. Water the tree daily.
A tree cut this weekend should last until just after Christmas with the proper care, Carter said.
Other dos and don'ts of caring for your live tree include keeping it away from sources of heat, such as the fireplace, television set and radiators.
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