Tips on taking care of a live Christmas tree

Keeping that Christmas tree healthy through the holiday season doesn’t have to difficult.

Laura Wolfe, owner of Evergreen Tree Farm at Every Soul Acres in Rappahannock County, said choosing a Christmas tree can be a memory that lasts a lifetime. But it’s best to choose wisely. Some species retain needles longer than others, she explained. While others have to be harvested earlier in the season or should only be cut down the week before Christmas.

Wolfe said the trees “are nature’s beauty and have a wonderful way of bringing life to a home during the holidays.”

Jeff Miller, executive director of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, said that Virginia’s Christmas tree growers rank among the top producers in the nation. The Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates that there are more than 10,000 acres of Christmas trees growing on 489 tree farms across the commonwealth. Over 500.000 trees are harvested and sold each year at a wholesale value of $6.8 million.

At Evergreen Tree Farm, top-selling trees including concolor fir, Canaan fir and Norway spruce. They also add fresh Virginia grown Fraser firs for the “U Choose and Cut” program offered.

“Our Fraser firs are cut the day before they deliver to us and they deliver each week so we can guarantee freshness,” Wolfe said. “A customer can tell when they go to a big box store or lot that the trees are not as fresh and will have browning from becoming too hot as a result of being packed and smashed during shipment to store.”

After finding and cutting down the perfect tree, Wolfe said once home, cut a ¼ to 1 inch straight cut at the bottom of the base of the truck before putting the tree in the stand. And then trim and shape as desired.

“Make sure your tree stands hold at least 1 gallon of water,” Wolfe said. “The average 6-foot tree can consume up to 1 gallon of water per day.”

Wolfe advised keeping the tree away from heat sources, including fireplaces, heat vents and direct sunlight. Lowering the room’s temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption a day.

The tree’s water level should be checked on a daily basis. It shouldn’t go below the base of the trunk, Wolfe explained.

When the holiday season comes to an end, Wolfe advised recycling. Or she suggests simply taking it to a compost pile  “as they can make a great bird sanctuary.”

Miller added that there’s also nothing quite like experiencing a “real tree experience.” “It takes us back to the basics, a truly ‘green’ Virginia-grown, eco-friendly tree grown and sold by Virginia Christmas tree grow creates lasting holiday memories for the entire family.”

To find a local Christmas tree farm or tree recycling program, visit www.realchristmastrees.org.

Evergreen Tree Farm at Every Soul Acres is located at 2411 Flook Lane, Keezletown.