If you grew up with the smell of fresh pine wafting through your house on Christmas morning, then you’ll probably want a fresh tree to decorate for your San Joaquin Valley home. Check out these tips for finding the best holiday stock to grace your celebration.
Measure the space.
Arguably the most important part of selecting the right tree, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, is to make sure you have the right space for it. So carefully measure the area in which you want to set the pine, starting with the height. Try to leave a minimum of six inches between the ceiling and the top of the tree whether you leave the tip bare or add a topper. Don’t forget to account for the height of the tree stand as well.
Just as important is the width of the tree. Most offerings on tree farms are trimmed to an 80 percent taper, which makes a 10-foot tall tree about eight feet wide. A tree with the perfect height may turn out to be too wide.
If you want your tree to last a while, then find a place for it that is away from sources of heat like furnace vents, fireplaces, and direct sunlight. Make sure that it doesn’t block well-used paths in the home or have stray branches and needles that accidentally touch electrical outlets or light bulbs.
Visit a farm.
While it’s convenient to buy a tree from your local home center or big box store, what you end up with may not be fresh. The best quality offerings are generally at a choose-and-cut farm. Pick Your Own Christmas Tree is a website which lists several farms within driving distance of your San Joaquin Valley home. The site recommends that you always call the farm right before you go to confirm whether they have precut or choose-and-cut trees, how much stock they have and what attractions and activities they have available, especially if you’re bringing the kids.
Ask the farm when trees are delivered and plan your visit for that time to get the freshest stock. Going in the middle of the week means fewer crowds, which can allow you to ask more questions from the staff and get more personalized attention with tree cutting and prep.
Find out what equipment, if any, you need to bring. Most farms provide their own saws. In any event, cutting your tree down is generally a two-person operation with one person keeping the bottom limbs up while a farm attendant uses a chain saw to cut the trunk.
Prep the tree.
You’ll need to bring your chosen tree to a processing area where it is shaken to remove the oldest needles. This is part of the tree’s natural cycle as it prepares for winter. An attendant will then net the tree to make it easier to transport and help you load it on your vehicle.
Display the tree.
After you take your tree home, put it in water as quickly as possible, even if it’s just in a bucket. A traditional reservoir stand is the best way to maintain the life of your tree and minimize needle loss. You want a container that holds one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Your stand must fit the stem of the tree without you having to whittle the sides. Do not remove the outer layer of the tree because it is the most efficient part for absorbing water. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water intake. Water temperature does not affect water absorption.
Inspect any lights before putting them on the tree. Don’t risk a fire with worn-out electrical decorations. When possible, use lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights or LEDs, to prevent your tree from drying out quickly. Keep the lights on only when someone is awake at home. For safety’s sake, turn them off if you go to bed or leave.
If you’re looking for a home to put your tree in this Christmas, please contact us.