It’s that time of year when you either already have your tree up, or wanting to take a trip to a local tree farm and get one.  What fun it is for the kiddos to go tree shopping. All those candy canes and watching them shake the dead needles off the tree, excitement.

There are over a dozen different types of evergreens sold in the United States for use as Christmas trees! The most popular are the Douglas fir, balsam fir, and Scotch Pine. How do you find the one that’s right for your family?

Firs have a strong fragrance, and they, along with the Scotch pine, are long-lasting. Both are good choices if you like to leave your tree up for a long time.  Scotch pine is hardy; even if you forget to water it, it rarely loses its needles.  Blue spruce trees have sturdy branches for those heavy ornaments, but they are the quickest tree to dry out.

Test your tree to see how fresh it is.  Bounce it on the ground; if its fresh you should lose very few needles. Another test is to pull needles at the end of a branch. If they come out easily, the tree’s already too dry. Other trees have been dyed to look fresher than they are. Look underneath the needles to check that out. 

I know most of you go to a tree farm, not the local tree lot. I am sure in bigger places, the tree lots are also a choice. You might consider buying a live tree.  You can dig a hole in October for where you think you want the tree and then get a nice tree. When you bring the tree home let it soak up as much water as possible. Remove burlap wrapping and let excess water drain in laundry sink or bucket.  Wrap the ball of the tree in plastic and secure tightly.  Remember, if you choose to do this, live trees can’t be kept indoors for more than a week.  If you forgot to dig the hole before the ground was frozen, keep your tree in an unseated but sheltered place and cover the root ball with a blanket until you are ready to plant the tree in the spring.  This would be fun for children,and planting in the spring, memories would be made. 

Or, you can do like I do, bring my tree upstairs, decorate,and purchase small tubes that smell like evergreen and I’m ready.  I’m allergic to real trees, and gave up the real tree many years ago.  If you do have a real tree, you can also put it out after Christmas for the birds to sit in near a feeding station.

What fun the holidays are, until next time good bird watching.