A few hints about selecting Christmas trees and decorating with live plants.

Want some great tips about picking that best ever Christmas tree? Growing seasonal flowers? Making poinsettias last beyond Christmas. Well, you've come to the right place. The Reindeer Rule! The Reindeer Rock! The Reindeer know....

Picking a Perfect Tree...

There are five types of trees commonly sold as Christmas trees each year. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, but any make great bases for the ornaments. The five are...

Balsam pine...

This is the second most popular of all trees. The needles are usually between one-half inch to an inch. It's very aromatic and is conically shaped.

Scotch Pine...

Another very popular tree at Christmas. It's the most popular tree sold. The branches feature needles just a tad longer than the balsam and they curve upwards.

Fraser pine...

Much like the balsam, the fraser has needles just a bit longer and which are darker in color with a hint of silver.

Noble pine...

A "noble" tree indeed. The noble has an aroma that is rich and pungent. It fills the house with that lovely Christmas smell. The fraser has shorter needles and is a deeper green.

Douglas pine...

Dougie, that's what we reindeer call this type of pine, is a great tree...It's full, it's elegant and it's graceful in its conical shape. Dougie, though, has branches that are a bit less strong than other types.

Tips for picking the proper tree and caring for it:

1. When visiting the tree lot, look at the ground. If there seems to be an excessive amount of needles on the ground, it's likely that the trees at that lot are not very fresh. Either test the individual trees or find another lot.

2. To test the freshness of a tree, do two things. First, grab a small branch and tug firmly on it. If it comes off easily, it's an old tree. Second, grab the tree by the trunk and stomp it against the ground a couple of times. If more than a dozen needles fall off, it's likely an old tree.

Fun Reindeer Fact:

There are about 15,000 Christmas tree growers in the U.S., and over 100,000 people employed full or part time in the industry.

3. After purchasing your tree, have the lot cut off at least an inch from the bottom of the tree. It's important, though, to get the tree in water as soon as possible before the cut seals over with sap. A sealed off tree stump will not draw water properly to the branches and it will soon dry off. If the stump bottom is above the water line, sap will seal over the cut in as little as four to six hours. If the cut seals over, make sure to make a new cut before putting it in a stand and decorating it.

4. If you don't plan on immediately setting the tree up to decorate, set the stump in a bucket of warm water and set it in an unheated area. In the first 24 hours after a new cut has been made, a tree can use up to a gallon of water.
Fun Reindeer Fact:

Bringing trees into the house as a manner of celebrating religious holidays dates back to the Middle Ages. Then, a tree was brought in and decorated with bright, red apples to celebrate the Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24th.

It wasn't until the 1600s that the first references to Christmas trees began appearing, most notably in Strasbourg area of what is now France. Both rich and poor families decorated their trees with fruit, candies and colored papers. The tradition spread throughout Europe and eventually to America.

President Franklin Pieces brought the first Christmas tree into the White House. And in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Tree on the White House lawn.

5. Water! Water! Water! After trees are in their stand, they can use about a quart of water a day. It's imperative to keep the tree in water at all times. A thirsty tree will dry out, drop needles and present a fire hazard. A well-watered tree will stay fresh, safe and its aroma will be at its optimum.

6. Experts maintain that plain tap water is the best sort of water for trees. So, though some swear that by adding all sorts of concoctions to the water--such as ground-up aspirin--there's no need to add anything to the water.

Fun Reindeer Fact:

It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time in 7 years.  The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina.

Fun Reindeer Facts about Christmas trees courtesy of the National Christmas Tree Association.


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