The Best Holiday Tree “Fir” You
Selection And Care Tips From The Morton Arboretum
LISLE, IL (November 20, 2007) – When putting up your holiday tree, use ornaments, not aspirin.
The Morton Arboretum is out with recommendations on how to select and care for your holiday tree, and putting aspirin in the water meant to keep your tree fresh is not advised, says Doris Taylor, who heads the Arboretum Plant Clinic.
“The best research says use plain old water, not aspirin, and not a soft drink, to keep your tree fresh,” Taylor says. She adds that homeowners should not try to use flower fertilizer either as “the tree is not trying to grow, and fertilizer is designed to help push out growth.”
Keeping your tree fresh starts with buying it as early as possible. Tug on the needles to make sure they’re firmly attached. Bend them and see if they’re pliable. If the needles break, this likely is a sign that the tree has dried out, Taylor says.
Another test for freshness involves holding the tree straight up, and pounding the end into the ground a few times. Although a few needles may fall, if quite a few come off the tree, it may not be very fresh.
The tree industry paints some holiday trees to maximize their green look. Homeowners should run the branches through their fingers to see if a green color comes off.
Be certain that you don’t select a tree for its beauty, and forget about its size. Measure the space where you intend to put the tree, and select one that’s at least a foot shorter than the ceiling.
Once home, be certain to cut at least an inch off the trunk bottom before placing it in a stand, and fill the stand with water. Check the water level daily as trees will take up moisture, and some of the water will simply evaporate.
A well-watered tree will retain needles longer than a “thirsty” tree. Scots pines are “excellent” for holding their needles, while Douglas-fir, balsam fir, white fir, red pine and white pine rate as “very good” for retaining needles. White spruce and Colorado spruce trees do not retain their needles well, Taylor says.
The most fragrant trees are the Douglas-fir and the balsam fir.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,057 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier, Central Time. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) and 9:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.