It's a family tradition for many families in the Northland, a trip to the woods or local tree farm to bring the perfect Christmas tree home to decorate.  To make the excursion most enjoyable, here's some tips to think about BEFORE you head out the door.

Instead of eyeballing it or trying to guess while you're staring at your potential Christmas tree you should measure the height of the ceiling in the room you plan on putting your tree.  Bear in mind, it should be at least a foot taller than the tree you pick out.

Remember lots of plastic and rope to secure the tree for the ride home, don't rely on the tree farm to have enough to give or borrow to you. Pick a fresh tree.  According to the Tree Care Association, if it's fresh it will have bright green, flexible needles with very few falling off when you shake the tree.

You'll be traveling in your car at speeds that could damage your newly picked tree so if possible, wrap it in the plastic to avoid wind damage when driving.  (although I rarely see that).  They also suggest placing the tree on the car roof with the stump facing the front of your vehicle.

A vehicle with a roof rack is best because you can secure the tree to it at several places along the length of the trunk. For those that drive a car that doesn't have a rack, open the doors (not the windows) and tie the tree to the roof with rope making sure the rope  passes through the inside of the car. I'm sure if you're a tree farm the staff is very verse in tying trees to vehicles and would be happy to help you. They may even know some specialized knots and fastening methods you haven't thought of. If you're not use to carrying objects on the roof of your car, slow down.  The tree could cause your vehicle's center of gravity to change.


It's important to use a sharp saw to cut an inch off the bottom of the tree trunk.  There's a scientific reason why you should do this.  The Tree Care Association says when the tree trunk was originally cut, resin clotted the exposed ends of the tracheids, which is the cells that the tree uses to take up water. Cutting the trunk exposes fresh tracheids and will allow the tree to take up water once again, and will prolong the tree's freshness.  You can ask at the tree farm you get your tree from, sometimes they will make the cut for you if you can get your tree home and in water within an hour.

Get the tree in water as quickly as possible, even if you are not setting it up right away. If you aren't setting it up immediately, place it in a cool location, like your garage, to keep the foliage fresh. If the base of the cut tree dries out, the needles will get dry very quickly and dry needles are a fire hazard.  Keep that in mind when you place the tree in your home to decorate.  Keep it away from heat sources, such as direct sunlight, heaters or fans.

Before you decorate you can spray the tree with anti-desiccant.  It's a waxy substance that will retard the drying of your needles.  There is also Christmas tree preservatives, which is mixed into the water, but they say there is no scientific data to prove that it etends the life of your tree.  You can also spray the tree with an anti-desiccant, which is a waxy substance that will help keep the needles from drying out as quickly.

info via: Tree Care Association