To begin your expedition to find the perfect live Christmas tree, David Moorhead, a UGA professor and tree expert, offers the following tips.
The place to get the freshest trees possible is a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm. Christmas tree farms provide local farmers with income and families with memories.
Buy a tree one foot shorter than your ceiling height. Shake the tree before you buy it, and make sure lots of needles don’t fall off. This is a sign of a dry or dead tree. Make sure the needles are fresh and pliable.
Check for insects and dead needles inside the crown (about the middle of the tree), as these could be signs of a dead tree.
Make sure the bottom part of the trunk is straight and about six to eight inches long. This gives enough room for the base to be cut and the tree to go into a stand.
“As soon as you get home, before putting it in a tree stand, make sure you cut off one inch of the base and immediately put the tree in water,” Moorhead said.
Once the holidays are over, don’t just throw the tree away. Use the main stem for firewood after the branches and needles are removed. Or create a fish attractor by weighting the base of the tree and sinking it into a pond or lake.
There are also Christmas tree recycling programs. For more information, visit www.dca.state.ga.us/environmental/kgb/bring_one_for_chipper.html.