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Advice for First-Time Buyers of Real Trees

The time has come to toss your artificial tree where it belongs – in the trash. Real Christmas trees need a little love and care, but nothing compares to the aroma of a fresh, Michigan grown Christmas tree in your home.  With proper care, fresh trees are grown to last from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Purchasing your first real Christmas tree may seem like a big task but it to be be a fun, family-bonding experience. Hunting for the perfect real tree is a tradition your family can carry on for years and years to come.

A few things to consider before leaving the house and at the farm:

  • Measure the area where you’re going to place to tree – especially ceiling height!
  • Find out what species falls within your budget, fits in your house, and is durable enough to hold your ornaments
  • Select the MCTA farm  or retail lot you want to visit – choose and cut or retail lot?
  • The MCTA locator gives you plenty of information from location to what tree species and amenities are available at each location

At the farm or retail lot:

  • Take some time to look at the different varieties; compare the look and feel because each variety is unique in color, look, and feel
  • Select a tree stand that is stable, sturdy and able to hold plenty of water – we recommend 1 quart of water per inch of trunk diameter
  • Many locations will “shake” your tree – this helps to remove loose needles and debris from the field – and reduces potential messes in your home
  • Dress for the weather to have an enjoyable farm visit
  • If you are purchasing a tree at a retail lot, be sure to check for freshness and be sure to get a fresh cut on the trunk your tree –this allows for water uptake, keeping your tree fresh all season long

If you’re not planning on setting your tree up for a few days, store it out of the wind in a cool, dry location and place the freshly cut trunk in  water.

Once you place the tree in the stand, consistently add cool water, lots and lots of water.  Your tree may absorb an impressive amount of water the first few days. Never let the water fall below the tree base. Water is crucial to keep your tree fresh late into December. There’s no proof that water-additives have any benefit, so we recommend just sticking with lots and lots of water.

A properly maintained tree does not represent a fire hazard. To keep your tree from drying, we recommend that you keep it watered and display it away from heat sources. Common sense should be used – use newer, UL approved lights, use care with open flames, such as candles and turn off tree lights when you are not home. For fire safety tips, read our blog, here.

Continue your green Christmas by recycling your tree after the holidays.  Many cities provide a post-holiday, Christmas tree recycling program. Almanac shares a list of creative ways to repurpose your tree, here, like using it as a bird feeder and haven, outdoors of course. We share more tips for greening up your holiday on our How to Have a Green Christmas blog.

For more Christmas tree care tips, read our Christmas tree care tips blog.

Start a new holiday tradition this year. Choose and cut farms and retail lots give you and your family the experience you see in the holiday movies. With hot chocolate in hand and Santa Clause to your right, hop in the sleigh and search for your perfect, real Christmas tree at an MCTA choose and cut farm or retail lot.   

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