Now is the perfect time to consider a natural Christmas tree for the holiday season! We have already been selling a considerable number of these with the season being somewhat shorter between Thanksgiving and Christmas; many customers are either considering a switch to a natural tree from an artificial tree or setting up a  Christmas tree for the very first time and have many questions about selecting and using a “live” tree  indoors. Among the most major things to consider are how long the cut tree will remain “fresh” inside the home without dropping a lot of its needles before Christmas. Also important are the sturdiness of the branches for hanging ornaments and lights and how fragrant it is, one of the greatest aspects of having a live tree!  There are several varieties of trees we consider to be excellent to use for this purpose.

DSC05303Fraser Firs are quickly becoming one of the most popular as it has many desirable qualities that make it a superior choice. It has gorgeous, soft, light blue-ish green needles that are very full, lush, and extremely fragrant! Coming from the hills of the Carolinas, the needles are short and the branches firm, making it prime for decorating, with superior needle retention. Also extremely popular is the Douglas Fir, traditionally coming from the Pacific Northwest and having very soft needles that are also extremely full and lush, but being a little longer and darker green then the Fraser. It is also very fragrant but with a little different aroma, taking on a citrus tone; this classic fragrance alone makes this tree the choice of many!

Scotch PineAnother favorite is the Scotch Pine, traditionally a hugely popular choice that brings to many great childhood memories!  It is locally grown, usually coming from Ohio or Michigan. It is relatively inexpensive, with longer dark green needles that are somewhat coarser but with a very attractive and distinct aroma. It also has excellent needle retention, making it another safe  choice without much mess. White Pines are another popular locally grown tree known for its long, soft and lush, beautiful needles with a wonderful fragrance. Needle retention is usually not quite as good as the Scotch Pine and some other choices but still makes a great tree to use indoors.

Another traditional and less expensive choice is the Balsam Fir. Coming from Canada, it is  popular for its unique fragrance and loose, open habit with short, soft needles that make it very appropriate for filling it with many larger ornaments.Balsam Fir Canaan Firs have started to become a popular choice in recent years. It is locally grown and inexpensive, with short, soft fir- like needles and full and stout growth habit.

When choosing a tree at a nursery or tree lot, there are several things that should be considered. One way to test the freshness of the tree is to run your hand along one of the branches. If it starts dropping a lot of needles, it is probably not very fresh and will not hold up very well inside the home through the holidays. Check the tree for fullness, symmetry, and no open spots. Also, check the trunk to make sure it is straight and the base, which will decide the size of tree stand you will need. Make sure to make a fresh cut on the base as this will ensure maximum absorption of water. Once the fresh cut is made the tree should be set up and put in the stand filled with water immediately, or in a bucket of water, to avoid sapping up of the cut. It is very important to make sure the stand does not run out of water; check the tree stand frequently, once a day right after set up, as this is when the tree would take up the most water. Once the tree is set up it is best to not decorate the tree for 6-12 hrs to allow the branches to fall down and retain its original shape. Try to minimize the number of lights to avoid drying out of the tree, using miniature lights is best, and turn off over night.

We also are frequently asked about live trees to be used inside for a Christmas tree, ones not cut and with the root ball, either balled and burlapped or in a container, to be planted outside after the holiday. This can be an excellent option but there are several things to consider when planning to use this type of tree. Firstly, the root ball can be a bit sizeable and very heavy when utilizing in an inside space; as a result the most typical sizing is a 3-4’ or possibly 5’ height. It also will need to be place in a tub of adequate size so as to be able to water the root ball, which should be always moist and never totally dry out but not setting in water. Also, it is recommended to not leave a living tree inside the house for more than 3-5 days. Also, when bringing in the tree from outside, for best results, place in a cooler area such as a garage for a day or two so the tree can acclimate to the warmer conditions. It is also recommended to not use many, if any, lights on the tree.

Sit back and enjoy the fragrance and beauty of your tree this Holiday season.  Happy Holidays from Oakland Nursery!

-Provided by Oakland New Albany

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