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Port Kells Nurseries sells a very large selection of cut and live Christmas trees.
- Consider the shape, colour and needle retention.
- Pines hold needles the longest, then Fir and last Spruce.
- Fresher the better -To check for freshness, look for a firm tree and bounce the trunk on the ground. If only a few needles drop, then you can assume that it is relatively fresh. Bend some needles if you can bend it without snapping it in half and the needles cannot be easily pulled from their stem, then the trees is in good shape.
- Store your tree in a cool place till you bring it inside.
- Keep the water reserve filled at all times.
Live Christmas Trees
Living Christmas trees are used indoors for decoration and then planted outdoors in the landscape. It is now popular to consider buying a living tree to be used for Christmas instead of a cut tree, so that the money spent will be an investment in the landscape.
The key to successfully maintaining a living tree and enabling its survival outside once the holiday passes is proper care. If you plan to keep a tree up for several weeks, do not consider a living tree. The biggest problem with living trees is the foliage drying out. To be kept in prime condition, a living tree should be in the house no more than 3 to 5 days and positioned away from heat sources and drafts like with cut trees.
Living trees are commonly purchased as “balled and burlapped”, meaning that the root system is in a ball and it has been covered with a burlap materials to keep it together. When brought home, make sure that the soil ball is kept moist. Place the soil ball in a shallow pan and place a small amount of water in it. Avoid handling the ball when it is wet because it is likely to break apart. If the ball is frozen when taken home, let it warm up gradually in a cool room, like an unheated garage, before bringing it into the house. A drastic change of conditions will cause more problems than slower changes in temperature and water supply. With the pan underneath the root ball, cover the top with a sheet of plastic to retard rapid drying. A skirt can be used to hide the plastic.
After 5 days of indoor enjoyment, the decorations should be removed and the tree placed into a cool area for about one week prior to transplanting outdoors. Transplanting should be done when the weather is mild and not excessively cold or windy. Preparing a backfill from a bagged soil mix is not advised. Better long-term survival results from using the native soil in which the tree will have to grow in. Soil mixes are also typically much lighter and may not support the weight of ice, snow or the forces of wind during the winter period without staking.
Lastly, be prepared for the worst. It is not easy for trees that have warmed up to room temperature to endure the elements outdoors. Expect some branch or tip dieback to appear the next growing season. If done properly, however, the tree will recover.
Types of Christmas Trees
Fraser fir (Abies fraserii) is a uniformly pyramid-shaped tree.
Strong branches are turned slightly upward which gives the tree a compact appearance.
Needles are flattened, dark-green and two broad silvery-white bands on the lower surface.
It has long lasting aroma, soft to touch needles and excellent needle retention.
The Fraser is easier to decorate than some trees due to it’s firm branches.
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesi) has become the most popular Christmas tree.
It has many good characteristics when used as a Christmas tree.
The needles are soft and retained for weeks even in warm rooms.
It also has a superior symmetrical form and responds well to shearing in order to create a more compact and bushy appearance.
They have a sweet lemony scent when touched or bruised. Douglas firs don’t retain needles as well as other species, so it’s important to keep them well watered.
Noble Fir (Abies procera) Has the best needle retention of all of the Christmas trees.
It stays fresh longer in the home because of its ability to retain water and is easy to decorate because of the spacing between the branches.
The needles are generally twisted upward so that the lower surface of branches are exposed.
The Grand Fir has the best fragrance of all the Christmas trees and it will have your home smelling like a forest after it is set up.
It is bushy and full with good needle retention.
It is the most common and widely available type of Christmas tree.
It is easily distinguished from other firs by its sprays of lustrous needles in two distinct rows.
They are usually horizontally spread so that both the upper and lower sides of the branches are clearly visible.
The needles are long with glossy dark green tops and two highly visible white lines on the undersides.
This is the most popular Christmas tree today.
It has a dark green glossy thick needles and full branches and a natural symmetry.
It has a excellent reputation for holding its needles.
Copes better with the very warm and dry conditions caused by central heating.
This is the ‘original’ Christmas Tree and for some people the only tree.
It has short sharp green needles. It does not hold them well and should be purchased just a week or so before Christmas.
Has an excellent shape, ideal for decoration and have a nice pine fragrance.