Christmas trees are a cherished symbol of the holiday season, and the displaying of the real deal instead of a plastic tree is on the rise in North America. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 over 1,800 farms produced trees for the $77 million dollar market, exporting the evergreens across the world.

The American Christmas Tree Association reports that in 2018 over 95 million homes displayed a tree, with 17.9% of households displaying a real tree. The industry advocacy group has a few pointers on how to keep your Christmas tree fresh and thriving throughout the holiday season. 

Water is crucial to keeping a tree green and fresh while displaying it in the home. The NCTA recommends fitting the tree in a traditional stand with a water reservoir that holds at least a quart of water for every inch in tree diameter.

Other tips include making a fresh, half inch cut perpendicular to the axis before setting it in the stand. A fancy V-cut is unnecessary, can make the tree unstable, and actually reduces the tree’s ability to absorb water. Keeping the outer layer of bark intact will also help the tree absorb and retain more water.

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Keeping the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters, HVAC vents, and direct sunlight is also a good idea, as is using low heat Christmas lights, and monitoring the water level in the stand, ensuring that the water does not go below the base of the tree.

Other safety tips include never leaving decorative lights turned on when away from home, always inspect light sets before using, do not overload electrical circuits, and promptly remove dry trees from the house.

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Lastly, never dispose of a Christmas tree by burning it in a fireplace. The small, dry needles can ignite and burn uncontrollably fast, and send sparks all over the house, quickly setting everything in the domicile on fire. The high sap content can burn hot and long enough to set chimney deposits aflame, starting a flue blaze that can spread rapidly. It’s also unnecessary, as many communities have recycling programs available to households.

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