5 Tips to Find the Perfect Christmas Tree from This Old House’s Roger Cook
Christmas tree season is upon us, and with it comes the mission of selecting just the right tree. Since this task is clearly among the most important of the season, we went looking for an expert, and found one in This Old House’s Roger Cook. As a contractor for the PBS series, Roger has been […]
Christmas tree season is upon us, and with it comes the mission of selecting just the right tree. Since this task is clearly among the most important of the season, we went looking for an expert, and found one in This Old House’s Roger Cook. As a contractor for the PBS series, Roger has been helping homeowners with their landscaping questions for decades. A true New Englander and tree expert, Roger is a graduate of the University of Maine and owns and operates K & R Tree and Landscape Co, Inc. out of Burlington, MA, which he founded in 1982. Roger shares with us some tips to find the perfect Christmas tree.
Measure twice, cut once
Before you go shopping for a tree, be sure to measure your ceiling height! But also don’t forget to subtract the height of your tree stand — you don’t want a big stain on your ceiling from a tree that was too tall for your space! Measure your stand’s width as well, so you’ll know if the trunk of the tree will fit in the stand and if the stand will be sufficient to keep the tree standing straight.
Look for great color and a fresh, fragrant smell
After your measuring prep is done, look for a tree that has a good, rich green color and a fresh fragrant smell. If the needles come off easily in your hand, put the tree back and select another. Keep in mind that if there are major branches at the bottom that must be removed to accommodate your stand, the shape of the tree will be altered.
Remove loose needles and unwanted branches
Once you’ve picked your tree, have the farm attendant put it through a shaker or blower to remove any loose or dead needles before you wrap it up to bring it home. Place the needles from unwanted branches in a bowl hidden under or behind the tree. This will give off a stronger than normal pine needle aroma throughout the room and make it seem like you have an extra fragrant tree!
Keep it hydrated and away from heat
You’ll want to cut an inch off the bottom of the tree so the trunk can absorb water. Water is the most important part of keeping your tree healthy. A Christmas tree will absorb a full bowl of water in the first 12-18 hours. If you don’t re-fill it, the bottom will seal over and it will no longer be able to absorb the water it needs. When setting up your tree at home, be mindful of heat! Heat will dry out a tree, so be sure to place the tree away from any major heating source like a radiator or fireplace.
Recycle and Reuse
Most towns recycle Christmas trees after the holiday. They’re also a great source of mulch or composite for personal use. Another innovative use is to stand them up near your bird feeder, as they provide great additional cover for the birds. See more ways to recycle a Christmas tree.