The Care Of Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree is an important tradition in America.

Practically all species of conifers or narrow-leaf evergreens have been used in one form or another for Christmas decoration.

Christmas Tree CarePin

Well-Known Christmas Trees

Spruce, fir, and pine are widely popular Christmas trees.

Balsam and Douglas-fir are highly esteemed because they retain their needles long after being cut.

Juniper and arborvitae are also interesting Christmas tree species but are not as generally available as the above kinds.

Juniper or red cedar is found natively in most of the states of this region.

Christmas Tree Purposes

Conservation-minded people might deplore the removal of so many trees each year for Christmas tree purposes.

Most of these trees, however, are removed under good forestry practices. Thinning or removing trees is an important practice in maintaining good stands.

When they are young, the trees provide good soil protection and shade to prevent erosion until a tree stand is established.

If the extra trees are not removed, the stand becomes overcrowded and poorer quality and lumber results.

Care For Christmas Trees For Decorations

The trees you buy for Christmas decorations have usually been cut several weeks beforehand.

After purchasing a tree, keep it in a cool, shady place until you are ready to use it.

Place the butt end in water, and it will keep fresh longer.

When setting up the tree, make a fresh cut, preferably diagonally at the butt end, and then plunge this bottom end into a water container.

The tree will take up plenty of moisture, so check the water level daily.


Conifers contain much resin and pitch and can be a serious fire hazard, especially as they dry out.

Before placing the electric lights, inspect the wiring carefully.

If you find breaks and signs of wear, purchase new wiring. Also, don’t overload the electrical circuits used on the trees.

Open flames near evergreens can be extremely dangerous.

Few of the chemical retardants suggested for treating Christmas trees seem to reduce the fire hazard successfully.

Treatment of the tree with an anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf, and keeping the butt end in water are the best insurances against the tree drying out excessively and increasing the fire hazard.

Christmas Tree Farming

Don’t take chances with extremely dry trees.

Christmas tree farming is becoming an increasingly important industry.

In various parts of the country, farmers are planting acreages of evergreen trees for Christmas tree purposes.

The trees are grown for 5 to 10 years, cut, and sold for the Christmas trade. 

Considerable literature is available from state colleges and universities on establishing such plantings.


Holly is a broadleaf evergreen that is used widely for Christmas decorations.

The unique, glossy foliage and brilliant berries are other important symbols of the season.

Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to receive a box of this from a friend who lives where holly grows well.

Holly is not adapted to our soil or climate; it needs moist, humid soil and atmosphere to do its best.

The winters must not be severe, and the plant prefers acid soils.

There are several species of holly grown as ornamentals and numerous varieties available. Where they can be grown, they are extremely attractive landscape plants.

Christmas Accent

Gardeners in our area often decorate the evergreens in their yards for Christmas.

The lights add a great deal to the color and atmosphere of the festive season and usually do not harm the trees.

Sometimes evergreens are planted with this Christmas accent in mind, but they may look out of place the rest of the year.

It is important that, when evergreens are used in the landscaped yard, they are a part of the entire landscape scene and do not appear to dominate a situation so much that they take away from the interest and beauty of the rest the yard planting.

44659 by Leonard A. Yager