TRENTON – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher urged residents to follow a few simple steps for a safe holiday season when they choose their cut Christmas tree.
- When shopping for a tree, dress accordingly — wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes or boots for walking.
- Select a tree that best fits your needs. Consider your ceiling height as well as the weight of your ornaments when determining the size and type of tree you choose. Remember that in the field, the sky is the ceiling, making trees appear smaller than they actually are.
- Do a freshness test. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. Very few needles should come off. Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. An excessive amount of green needles shouldn’t fall to the ground. Some loss of interior brown, yellow or tan needles is normal.
- If you’re not going to decorate your tree right away, place it in a container of water and store the tree in a cool, shaded area, sheltered from the wind, such as in a garage.
- Before you bring your tree into the house, cut an inch from the stump. The fresh cut enables the tree to more readily take in water.
- Place the tree in a tree stand filled with one quart of water for every inch in diameter of the tree trunk. The average six-foot tree has a trunk with a four-inch diameter, meaning the tree stand should hold one gallon of water.
- Always keep the tree stand filled with water. Fresh-cut trees absorb a pint to a quart of water each day. Check the water level daily and always keep it above the cut end of the tree.
- Keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets. Be sure your light cords and connections are in good working order. Unplug lights before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Contact your county recycling office for information on their tree recycling program www.state.nj.us/dep/dshw/recycling/county_recycling_coordlst.pdf.
For more tree selection tips, visit www.christmastree.org/selection.cfm.
For more live tree care tips, visit www.christmastree.org/care.cfm.
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