Educational & Environmental
You must care for your tree whether you are a retailer or consumer. Over the years, common myths and other misconceptions over the care and handling of cut Christmas trees have resulted in wasted trees, reduced tree quality, poor tree care and sometimes dissatisfied customers. Also, recent trends of setting trees up earlier during the holiday season increases the chances the trees will not meet consumer expectations of quality during the entire display period unless the trees have proper care.
The market is demanding more NC grown Fraser Firs each year...Why?
Families are continuing to find that the Fraser Fir's resistance to shipping stress and temperature fluctuations, its excellent needle retention, its wonderful fresh-cut aroma and its deeper green color make it perhaps the nation's premier Christmas tree.
Questions About Fraser Fir Pests?
Click here to visit the North Carolina Cooperative Extension website.
Do all species keep equally well after harvest?
Certain species simply last longer and remain fresh much longer than others. Some of the best are the North Carolina Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Scotch pine and Douglas-fir. Regardless of species, consumers must make the final judgment of quality by looking at, touching, feeling, smelling and shaking the tree.
How much of the trunk should be cut off before setting up the tree?
Removing a thin disk (1/4 to 1/2 inch) off the trunk before placing the tree in a water holding stand is all that is needed. It is always a good practice to make a new cut before putting the tree into the stand.
What is the minimum amount of water a tree stand should hold?
As a general rule, a tree can use up to a quart of water per day for each inch of stem diameter. The warmer the temperature and the lower the relative humidity where the tree is displayed, the greater the amount of water required by the tree.
If the base of the trunk has a split, will this affect the quality of the tree?
It should not affect the ability of the tree to take up water, assuming a fresh cut is made on the base, nor have any effect on how long the tree lasts after it is displayed.
Are imported trees always drier than locally grown trees because of differences in harvesting dates?
Research has shown that trees shipped into markets from some of the major Christmas tree production areas generally arrive with as high a moisture level as "fresh" cut locally-grown trees. Generally, the handling of trees on the retail lots has the greatest effect on their moisture levels (freshness) and quality.
What's the best way to prevent trees from drying out?
Trees being stored should be held in a shaded area that is protected from temperature extremes and wind. In most cases, covering trees with shade cloth, burlap or boughs and spraying the piles with water is more effective than using plastic, which may allow light to pass through it and result in damage to the trees.
Will spraying trees in hot climates cause the needles to discolor?
The greatest potential for drying occurs once the trees are unbaled and displayed. Retailers can significantly reduce the rate of drying on trees displayed by spraying their foliage during the night and early morning.
Can you determine if a tree is fresh by bending the needles?
Needles on fresh fir trees break crisply when bent sharply with the fingers. Trees that have lost a significant amount of moisture are more pliable and tend to bend without breaking. The needles on fresh pines do not break, because of their fibrous nature, unless they are very dry.
Be Safe With Your Tree
Christmas trees do not start fires, people do! Here are some helpful hints so that you and your family can enjoy the Christmas season and your Fraser fir tree to the fullest.
- Check all electric lights and connections before decorating. Don't use any lights with worn or frayed cords.
- NEVER use lighted candles on your tree.
- Don't overload the electrical outlets.
- Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets, and other heat sources. These elements can prematurely dry out your tree.
- Always make sure that your tree has plenty of water to prevent drying.
- ALWAYS turn off all decorations before going to bed at night or anytime that you leave home.
Sensible precautions like these will help you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. Remember that it is not the trees that cause the fires!