Wondering when to buy your real or live Christmas tree? Wondering how early is “too early” to buy so that your tree doesn’t die before Christmas Day? I am a first time LIVE Christmas tree buyer this year and I have asked the experts all the questions that you might want to know. I have put together this LIVE Christmas Tree Buying Guide the tells you what to expect, when to buy and how to care for the tree so that you still have fragrant green needles on your tree on Christmas Day.
LIVE Christmas Tree Buying Guide with Care Instructions
When to Purchase a live Christmas Tree?
Depending on the tree variety, there are different cut-off dates that you will want to abide by. Some trees needles are more or less prone to dropping their needles.
- White Pines Virginia Pine and other Pine varieties will lose their needles more rapidly. Buy these pines after Dec. 5th.
- Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and other Fir varieties. are slightly more resistant. Buy firs after November 26th.
- Arizona Cypress, Leyland Cypress, and other Cypress varieties and Cedars are the best for early buying. If you plan on putting a tree up before Thanksgiving, this would be it.
Where to get a real/live Christmas tree?
The first option is, get a permit and cut it down yourself. For some, because of tradition or other reasons, it may be worth taking a Saturday to go and cut your own tree. Depending on your area, price for a tree permit will vary. Where I live, it is only $10 but you will need to factor in your time and fuel driving out to get it. One benefit of cutting your own tree is that you know the exact date that it was cut. If you were to buy from a tree lot, or store, they may have been cut in the beginning of November waiting for a buyer. The longer the tree has been away from its roots, the more needles you may need to clean up depending on the tree variety.
Any major hardware store usually carries trees starting after Thanksgiving. That is when the Tree Lots start popping up in parking lots and high traffic areas. The benefit of buying from these places is that it is a huge time saver. The pitfall is that, as mentioned above, you don’t know exactly when it was cut and they have already trimmed the tree to have the perfect shape.
What to do before bringing your live Christmas Tree into the house?
If you harvested your own tree, you may want to trim the tree to look more even on all sides.
Needles will have already fallen even before cutting and get lodged in the branches. TO minimize needle cleanup, you will want to comb your hands though the tree loosening all the fallen needles and then give it a really good shake out.
If your tree has not had a fresh cut on the bottom, it needs a fresh cut before getting set up. Why? If your trunk has been dry for over 2 hours it will start to produce a sap that coats the wood and prevents it from being able to drink water.
How to care for a Live Christmas tree?
Trees need a lot of water. As mentioned above, you can not let the tree go dry for more than 2 hours or you will have to re-cut the trunk. This is a very big hassle once the tree is decorated so getting a tree stand with a large capacity basin is crucial. It is worth the investment if you plan on having live trees. You do not want to be a slave to the tree with all of your other holiday festiIf you do not have a large capacity basin, you will want to water your tree at least twice a day, sometimes more depending on the water basin size.
Because a tree can drink up to two gallons of water in the first 48 hours after being set up, I recommend this stand. It holds 2.5 gallons. Top it off every morning. You can purchase one like it HERE or click on the image below.
What to water a live Christmas tree with?
There are rumors of all kinds of additives that you can add to your tree to extend its life and have beautiful branches. Some say, Sprite, Birth control crushed up, special fertilizer additives, however, if you follow the “when to buy guide” above, all you need is good ol’ water!
How to clean up after a live Christmas tree?
Regardless of the variety of live christmas tree, there will be need for needle clean up. If you have hardwood, a simple sweep up will do. On carpet, a vacuum. My personal favorite option is a carpet sweeper for both surface types,. I may be biased because I LOVE my carpet sweeper for almost every job in the house.
You may want to have a tree skirt as well to make it look purdy (that is hick for “pretty”). I can say that. I grew up in a small cowboy town.
That is it! Any questions?
I would love to start a forum where we can answer each others live Christmas tree questions. If you have any questions or comments about live Christmas trees, please comment below.
If you would like to see more great posts about Christmas, click here.