December 15, 2003
GMC offers 10 tips for picking and packing perfect Christmas Tree
Detroit, Michigan – This year, approximately 30 million real Christmas trees will be sold in North America. With Christmas just around the corner, more and more families are packing up the car and getting ready to shop for this year’s ideal tree.
GMC, in partnership with the (US) National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), offers these 10 suggestions on how to select, transport, and recycle your Christmas tree.
- Before you go to buy your tree, measure the height and width of the room where you will be displaying the tree. Trees in the field look smaller than they do indoors, so make sure you get a tree that will fit in your home. Most trees are trimmed to an 80 percent taper, so a tree that is 10 feet tall will be eight feet wide.
- Think about the type of species you would like. Popular ones include the Balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine, and White pine.
- When you arrive at the Christmas tree farm or retail lot, look for a tree that fits your needs. Check the trunk to make sure that it is sufficiently straight. Also, check to be sure that the tree will fit in your stand.
- Check to see how fresh the tree is. One simple test is to 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. 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 a tree.
- When you purchase your Christmas tree, remember to ask for a tree removal bag. It can be used as a tree skirt and then pulled up around the tree to help keep the floors clean when the tree is being taken down.
- There are several steps you can take to avoid damaging the tree during the drive home. Take a couple items with you to make it more convenient and quicker, including an old sheet or blanket and half-dozen bungee cords. Almost all Christmas tree sellers, whether a retail lot or farm, will run the tree through a baling machine which will secure netting around your tree. The netting makes it easier to handle the tree, carry it where needed and easier to secure in your vehicle. Then wrap the old sheet around the tree.
- Make sure you have a transport-friendly vehicle. If you have a pickup truck, you can just lay the tree in the bed. And if you drive a car like a sedan or hatchback, you should set the tree in the trunk and secure the trunk or hatch just above where it touches the tree.
- When you set up your tree at home, always make a fresh cut off the base of the tree before putting it in a water stand. After time, the cut stump gets a crusty sap seal and air in the water vessels, which lessens a tree’s water absorption capacity. A fresh cut of approximately one half inch will reopen the pores that take up water.
- Don’t add anything to your tree’s water, such as bleach, aspirin, or fertilizer, to make it last longer. Research has shown that plain tap water is by far the best. Some commercial additives and home concoctions can actually be detrimental to a tree’s moisture retention and increase needle loss. Water holding stands that are kept filled with plain water will extend the freshness of trees for weeks.
- Once the holidays are over, you can recycle your Christmas tree. Recycled Christmas trees are used for a variety of environmentally friendly purposes, including beachfront erosion prevention, chipping, lake and river shoreline stabilization, and fish habitats.