With the holidays quickly approaching, many will soon be making their Christmas tree selection. Some choose to decorate their homes with artificial trees, but some prefer the scent and woodsy look of a live Christmas tree. The smell of fir, cedar or pine that permeates a home and the beauty of twinkling lights upon their branches is often what radiates the Christmas spirit to those whose general preference lends itself to a live tree. If you decide that a live tree is what you desire this holiday season, here are some tips for making the best selection possible.

First, determine the size that works best for the space where you will place the tree. Ensure that the tree will not be too large or too small, in both height and width, for the area where you plan to set up the tree. A tree that is too large may damage furniture, scrape ceilings or obstruct views. A tree that is too small, while less likely to cause any manner of damage, may not be as aesthetically appealing if it is consumed by a large space. Therefore, before you go to a tree farm to select your Christmas tree, determine where it will be placed, and be certain that you’ve carefully and accurately measured that area.

Also, take great care to ensure that the area where you wish to place the tree is away from sources of heat or electricity, such as fireplaces or televisions. While living Christmas trees are a beauty to behold when brought indoors and decorated, they do carry a risk for flammability when placed near potentially hazardous areas.

Second, research Christmas tree blogs to get an idea about the kind of tree that you’re most interested in displaying. Generally, firs, cedars and pines are popular choices. Consider color, density and even smell. Having an idea of the kind of tree you want beforehand allows you and your family to enjoy this rare experience together rather than stressing over too many choices or blatant uncertainty.

Third, briefly research the diseases that may affect the kind of tree you’re interested in. Knowing which diseases a particular species may be affected by also allows you to know what to look for that might indicate an unhealthy tree. Obviously, an unhealthy tree may be less likely to make it through the holiday season. In Austin, Texas, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist or other professional who routinely and diligently works with trees for insight into other possible diseases or problems relative to the species of your choice.

Finally, know what to look for at the tree farm. Unless they’re diseased in some way, trees that you cut should be relatively healthy since they are whole, intact and connected to their life source. Trees that are pre-cut, however, may need to be more closely examined before selection. Be certain that the needles appear healthy and green. Brown or discolored needles may be indicative of a problem. Likewise, the needles shouldn’t feel brittle or break off easily when touched. Some Christmas tree blogs recommend lifting the tree by the stem and allowing it to gently hit the ground. Only inner needles should fall off upon impact, and a minimal amount of them at that. Any outer needles that fall off may also be an indicator of an unhealthy tree.

If you have additional questions or concerns related to the health or safety of a live Christmas tree, contact an Austin tree care specialist.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit https://centraltexastr.wpengine.com.

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