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HOME DECORATING WITH EVERGREENS

Decorating with evergreens had its early beginnings during mid-winter festivals in ancient times when evergreen foliage was brought inside for decoration.

In the early 1500's, the first documented history of a decorated evergreen tree is linked to the Alsace region, straddling France and Germany.

From that point forward most Christmas tree history and development is credited to Germany.

Decorated Christmas Tree


CHRISTMAS TREE SELECTION & CARE

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Cut Christmas Trees
Christmas Trees bundled and stacked for sale

Early German Christmas trees were decorated with gold foil, colored paper, apples and confections. It's said that Martin Luther was the first to use candles to decorate a Christmas tree.

Aerial view of a Christmas tree nursery

German immigrants brought the Christmas tree custom to England, where it later emigrated to America. A colleague of Thomas Edison's is credited with creating the first string of electric Christmas lights in 1882, thereby cutting down on the hazard of using lit candles on a flammable tree.


O Christmas Tree song

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How are thy leaves so verdant?
Not only in the summertime
But ev'n in winter is thy prime
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How are thy leaves so verdant?
  

  
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
For every year the Christmas tree
Brings to us all both joy and glee
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
  
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light
That makes each toy to sparkle bright
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
thy candles shine out brightly!
   

Note
: Lyrics to this song vary, but the lyrics above seem to be the most common.

'VERDANT' - Green with vegetation; covered with a green growth; green in color.


US Christmas tree history

The first retail Christmas tree sales lot in the United States was opened in 1851 in New York City. Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States, brought the first Christmas tree into the White House in 1856. President Calvin Coolidge started the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 1923.

Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Farm
Aerial view of a Christmas Tree Farm in Pennsylvania

Several varieties of Christmas trees have been used through the years and across the globe. The most common Christmas trees in Pennsylvania today are Scotch Pine, White Pine, Colorado Spruce, Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir and Fraser Fir, with prices ascending in that order (Fir trees are the most expensive). Christmas tree plantations are so common in Western Pennsylvania that Indiana, PA is known as the 'Christmas Tree Capital of the World.'

 


VARIETIES OF CHRISTMAS TREES

Balsam Fir
Abies balsamea

Balsam Fir Christmas tree Balsam Fir Christmas tree foliage
     

Colorado Spruce
Picea pungens

Blue Spruce Christmas Tree Blue Spruce needles
     

Douglas Fir
Pseudostsuga menziesii

Douglas Fir Christmas tree Douglas Fir Christmas tree foliage
     

Eastern White Pine
Pinus strobus

White Pine Christmas Tree White Pine needles
     

Fraser Fir
Abies fraseri

Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Fraser Fir needles
    

Noble Fir
Abies procera

Noble Fir Christmas tree Noble Fir Christmas tree foliage
     

Norway Spruce
Picea abies

Norway Spruce branch tip
     

Scotch Pine
Pinus sylvestris

Scotch Pine Christmas Tree Scotch Pine branches
     

POTTED CHRISTMAS TREES

For those with smaller dwellings who still desire a 'live' tree, a potted Christmas tree will work very nicely. The most common varieties used for potted Christmas trees are Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Norfolk Island Pine. Potted trees usually come in a variety of sizes, with various decorations.

     

Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Picea glauca 'Conica'

     

Norfolk Island Pine
Araucaria Hetrophylla

Norfolk Island PineThis tree is often used as a potted indoor live Christmas tree, and kept as a houseplant in the northern regions
of the US, since it isn't hardy in colder northern climates.
     

CHRISTMAS TREE CARE
(from our FAQ webpage)


  
What type of fresh-cut Christmas tree lasts the longest?

Fir trees are still our favorite. Their extra cost is really worth it when it comes to their longevity, soft needles and that "fresh-peeled Orange" aroma.  Douglas Fir is quite popular, but we like the Fraser Fir, with its thick needles highlighted with silver undersides.
KEY TIPS: When you get your cut tree home, cut a thin sliver off the base of the trunk and store the tree in a container of water in the garage until the tree is placed in its stand.

Fresh cut sliver off Christmas tree
Cutting a thin sliver off the base of the trunk before putting it in the tree stand will improve water uptake

Display your tree away from hot air vents and pay close attention to the water level, especially the first week or two. Placing a large plastic tree bag around the base of the tree when setting it up makes removal after Christmas much neater.


  
What can we do to keep our Christmas tree, wreaths and greens fresh longer?

We recommend spraying them with an "anti-desiccant" such as "WILT PRUF" before you bring them inside (follow label directions). This milky-looking substance dries to a shiny clear coating that helps seal in moisture, keeping greens fresh longer.

Wilt Pruf


   
How should we handle our live balled and burlapped (B&B) Christmas tree?

10 Tips for success:
1) Try to dig a hole for the tree in advance of planting time, on a day when the weather is decent. Cover your soil pile with a waterproof tarp. Your hole should be no deeper than the root ball and about 12 inches wider on each side. 
2) Don't keep the tree in the house any longer than necessary -- two weeks should be the maximum. 
3) Only water the tree once or twice while it is inside.  Remember - the tree is dormant and has lower water requirements. 
4)  Locate the tree away from a heat source. 
5) Lift the tree by the root ball when moving it. "Double team it" when lifting for safety and ease. 

Untying ropes on the soil ball of a live Christmas tree
Soil weighs about 100 lbs per cubic foot so a root ball can easily weigh a couple hundred pounds

6) Water the tree thoroughly following outdoor planting. 
7) Remove constricting ropes and synthetic wraps from the trunk area and root ball when planting. 
8) Stake the tree (if it is at all "wobbly") for the first growing season. 
9) Plant the tree where it will have adequate room to mature. 
10) Water the tree once a week in dry weather during the first growing season.


  
Is it true that dissolving an aspirin in the water reservoir of a cut Christmas tree helps it stay fresh longer?

No, not true. I'm not sure if it qualifies as an old wives' tale, but adding aspirin - or anything else - to the water in the tree stand reservoir does nothing to prolong the useful life of a cut Christmas tree. Research indicates that the most important things you can do to keep a cut tree fresh are:

1) Select a fresh tree. Bumping the trunk on the ground normally results in some dropped needles and debris. If a tree drops lots of dead needles, it may be an indication that it was cut a while ago.

2) Once you get it home, remove one-quarter inch of wood from the bottom of the trunk to expose fresh water conductive vessels. This ensures that the tree is able to take up adequate water. Be sure to make the cut straight across the base so that the tree sits properly in the stand. Get it into water as soon as possible. Stick it in a bucket until you have the tree stand ready.

3) Keep the reservoir filled with water and never allow the tree to dry out. Make sure that the base of the tree is submerged in water. Some reservoirs can have water in them, but the water level is below the base of the tree.
  

CHRISTMAS TREE TRIVIA

  
Approximately 28 million real Christmas trees are sold annually in the US


  
US Christmas tree production covers about 500,000 acres. Each acre of trees provides the daily oxygen requirement of 18 people.


  
The average time required to grow a cut Christmas tree is 7 years

Christmas tree farm
Christmas trees growing near Indiana, Pa.
"The Christmas Tree Capital of the World"


  
Top 6 Christmas tree growing states:
Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin and Michigan


  
Top selling Christmas trees:
Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir,
Scotch Pine, Virginia Pine and White Pine


  

MORE

Computer Christmas Wallpapers

Growing Christmas Cactus

Mistletoe & Holly

Seasonal Christmas Displays

 

      


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