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The holiday season is here, and with it comes the popular Christmas tree debate: Real or artificial?

If you find yourself wanting to join the real tree camp, or have bought fresh cut trees for years but are in need of help in caring for that tree, here are ten helpful tips to aid you in your cut tree care. Following these tips can help your fresh cut Christmas tree last for a month or even longer.

1. Before you bring your tree home, you will need a reservoir stand. According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NTCA), "Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems."

2. The Farmer's Almanac recommends purchasing your tree from a reputable nursery or cutting your own. Many trees at the chain stores have been cut for weeks.

3. The Pick Your Own Christmas Tree website warns that while shopping for your tree, if the ground around the tree is covered in needles, or the needles fall away when you brush your hand down the branches, then you should move on to another tree.

4. The Farmer's Almanac advises that once you get your tree home, saw off the bottom 2 inches from the trunk. After a tree is originally cut, the pitch oozes out and seals the pores. If you make a fresh cut, the pores will be open and ready to absorb water.

5. As soon as you can, says the NTCA, you should place your tree in water. It is a general rule that "stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter." According to Pick Your Own Christmas Tree, cold, chemical-free water is the best way to keep your Christmas tree fresh.

6. Check water on a regular basis, never letting the water level go below the tree's base. A tree can soak up to a gallon of water every twenty-four hours, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

7. Pick Your Own Christmas Tree also advises you to place your Christmas tree away from any heating vents, fireplaces, or other heating devices. This will prevent your tree from drying out too quickly.

8. Monitor the tree for dryness often. As soon as the tree becomes brittle and dry, it becomes a safety hazard and needs to be removed from your home, advises the National Christmas Tree Association. If the branches are dry, simply the heat from the lights may cause a fire. Whether your tree is dry or not, the NCTA recommends turning off the lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

9. The National Christmas Tree Association has a tree recycling page that lists programs in your area that will help you to recycle your tree.

10. The Farmer's Almanac has a list of creative ways to repurpose your tree, including making a bird feeder, using branches as mulch in your garden, and using the tree's foliage for fragrance packets for your home.



Tara Creel is a Logan native and mother of three boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com and you can find her blogging at www.taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.
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