Michigan Christmas Tree facts & tips:

Christmas trees typically take seven to 10 years to grow to a harvestable size. By planting new trees for a holiday season seven to ten years in the future, farmers are establishing an environment that produces oxygen, reduces wind and water erosion, improves water filtration into soil, filters sediment from rainfall, and provides a habitat for wildlife. Real Christmas trees also absorb carbon dioxide, which helps counteract possible greenhouse gas effects.

After the holidays, there are several uses for recycled farm-grown Christmas trees. Many communities chip the trees and use the chippings for mulch, hiking trails, playground areas, animal stalls or landscaping. Whole trees are recycled for an even greater variety of uses; river shoreline stabilization, sand dune erosion prevention, marshland sedimentation, fish habitat, winter garden decorations, wild bird feeders, even hazardous chemical clean-ups. Consider these tips when purchasing a pre-cut tree or cutting your own:

-- Look for a well-shaped tree with few bare spots

-- The tree should be fragrant, not musty;

--The needles should be green and have good retention; shake the tree to allow brown interior needles to fall out, green needles should not fall off a healthy tree;

--Store the tree in a cool, sheltered area to protect it from the elements until it is brought inside and decorated.

In addition, to help keep trees fresh throughout the holiday season and prevent Christmas tree-related fires: Make a straight cut across the trunk base and place the tree in a stand filled with at least one gallon of fresh water. Expect a freshly-cut Christmas tree to absorb up to one gallon of water the first day.

Keep trees watered with at least one quart of water daily to maintain fragrance and beauty. A watered tree not only looks better but also is more fire resistant. If the water level in the tree stand drops below the end of the tree stump, a layer of sap can form over the cut stump in just a few hours, making it impossible for the tree to absorb water.

Place trees away from heat sources such as fireplaces, televisions and radiators. Check tree lights to ensure that they are consumer-inspected (UL-listed or Factory Mutual-approved). Inspect lights and cords before hanging them to ensure they are in good working order and fault-free.

Remember to unplug tree lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

Check tree lights to ensure that they are consumer-inspected (UL-listed or Factory Mutual-approved). Inspect lights and cords before hanging them to ensure they are in good working order and fault-free.

Published: Thu, Dec 16, 2010

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