The price of trees has tempted me, on rare occasions, to consider an artificial tree. But for me, a real tree is the only way to go.

A cut Christmas tree is grown like any other agricultural crop. There are over one million acres of Christmas trees growing on tree farms, so choosing a cut tree is not an environmental issue. Follow a few simple rules and your tree will be fresh and fragrant the entire season.

Choose a cut tree that has flexible needles. They should bend, not break when bent. Give the tree a shake; some needles will naturally fall, but those should be brown. If dried up, green needles are falling by the handful, keep looking, that tree is already too dry to bring indoors.

Will the base of the tree fit in your tree stand?

Most places that sell trees will cut a couple of inches off the bottom of the trunk. Get it into water as soon as possible. Cutting the bottom will open the water conducting vessels and allow the tree to stay hydrated.

Christmas Tree with Tag on it

Trees drink a lot of water the first few days so check often to make sure they don’t go dry. If that happens, those water-conducting vessels will seal themselves again.

Close heat vents that are near the tree and don’t stand your tree near a fireplace.

A living tree is one you’re able to plant and remember for years to come and the variety is entirely up to you. The most important thing to remember about a living tree is that it cannot be inside your house for more than 3 or 4 days! If left inside too long, the tree will break dormancy and if moved outside after breaking dormancy, it will die.

To keep a living tree happy, move it gradually inside. Once inside, water it well. Don’t let the tree sit in water, which could kill it. A turkey baster is a good way to remove water from the catch basin. After Christmas, move it gradually outside. If you decide early in the season to use a live tree, you can dig a planting hole when the ground is nice and soft. The mound of soil and the hole can be covered with a tarp so the tree is easily planted right after the holiday.

Decorated Christmas Tree

Another option is to place the tree in front of a window and decorate the tree outside. Use something the birds will enjoy and you’ll have decorations and entertainment all in one. Live Christmas trees make wonderful memories, but remember that eventually, most evergreen trees will get huge, so consider that when choosing a variety and planting spot.

Whichever type of Christmas tree you choose, whether it is artificial, live or cut, make some memories and enjoy this wonderful holiday season.

If you’re a person like me, who enjoys a tree in the house for weeks, a living tree isn’t a good decision for you.

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