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Care and feeding of your Christmas tree

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Here's what the Cooperative Extension Service advises about the care of your Christmas Tree:

1. When purchasing, shake the tree - choose one with a minimum of needle loss. Tap the tree on the ground and if the needles start dropping off, find a new tree.

2. Pick a tree that fits your home, not the home you think you should live in - the home you really live in. If your tree is too big, use lower branches for decorations.

3. When you get home, immediately recut the butt and put butt into water unless you are going to put it up immediately. The butt of the tree has sealed in shipping. If you don't recut it the tree will be unable to take up any additional water and will soon be a fire hazard.

4. If you have to store the tree, do so in a cool place and keep the butt in water.

5. Do not store the tree outside if the weather is freezing.

6. Put the stand together and put it on the tree before bringing the tree into the house. Only use a stand with a water basin. The old two boards with a big nail surely held the tree, but it burned down a lot of houses.

7. Once inside, the tree will take a lot of water. Water every four hours until the tree slows down its uptake. Straight water will do the job.

8. If the basin dries out for several days and you put new water in but get no uptake, recut the butt.

9. Don't put the tree near a major heat source, absolutely never near any flame.

10. Check out the lights you will be using for frayed cords. If you have a cat check carefully as cats often play and chew on the wire insulation. Puppies are no better.

11. Nothing you can spray on the tree will make it fireproof, so make sure you water it well and shake the branches occasionally to see if the needles are holding.

13. If the tree starts dropping a lot of needles, take it out of the house and dispose of it - before you really have a tragedy.

14. I don't care if your grandmother did put candles on the tree - DON'T DO IT.

TREE TAKE-DOWN

1. Remove all ornaments and any tree dressing.

2. Get the water out of the basin.

3. If the tree is really dry, place an old sheet on the floor and drop the tree onto the sheet. Wrap it up and carry it out of house. Remove tree stand.

4. Green trees can be stuck in the ground and used as bird feeders for a short time.

5. Take your tree to the community tree chipping and turn it into good mulch.

6. Don't take a chance with a dry tree. If you have to, take it down immediately after Christmas or New Years may turn into a hot time in the old town.



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