LINCOLN, Neb. -- Many Nebraskans will head out this weekend and try to find
that perfect Christmas tree for the season. However, UNL Extension Forester
Dennis Adams says whether it is a pre-cut tree from a retail lot or a
cut-your-own tree, freshness is key.
"If you want to enjoy your Christmas tree during the entire holiday season, buy a fresh tree and keep it fresh," Adams said. "To prevent disappointment and potential hazard, check for freshness before you purchase a Christmas tree."
Obviously, cutting one's own live Christmas tree ensures freshness and quality, but even pre-cut trees from Nebraska are much fresher than trees cut and shipped from western and northern states, often long before Thanksgiving.
"Buying a Nebraska-grown tree also ensures freshness and supports the local economy," Adams said.
To check for freshness when buying a pre-cut tree, Adams recommends to gently stroke the needles. If green needles drop off, the tree is not fresh. Bright green foliage does not ensure freshness. Almost all pre-cut Christmas trees are sprayed with green colorant to enhance their natural color.
Another test is to lift the tree and strike the butt on the ground. Too many green needles dropping indicate the tree is not fresh and it might be wise to reject it.
"After you have selected a tree and brought it home, store the tree in a cool, protected area, preferably outdoors," Adams said. "Keep the butt in a pail of water until you are ready to bring it inside to decorate."
Before erecting the Christmas tree, take a few precautions to ensure freshness:
After the holidays are over, a Christmas tree's usefulness can continue.
With some imagination a discarded Christmas tree can be put to a number of uses around the home, Adams said.
The tree can be erected in the yard adorned as a winter bird feeder.
The boughs may be stripped and used for mulch around flower beds or the trunk may be sawn into firewood.
For a list of Nebraska Christmas tree farms contact any UNL Extension office,
Natural Resources District, Nebraska Forest Service office or visit these
websites: www.agr.ne.gov/publications/promotion/christmas_trees/trees.html or http://nebraskachristmastreegrowers.com/findafarm.asp.
Courtesy: University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources