When picking out a real Christmas tree, you want to find the freshest most recently cut tree you can find. Many tree types, such as the Fraser Fir, Eastern Red Cedar, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce will remain fresh and green for several weeks after being cut if properly taken care of. This care should include a freshly cut base (cutting the base opens up the trunk to drink water) just prior to setting the tree up in its stand along with plenty of water through the season as trees get very thirsty. These simple steps will go along way in keeping your real Christmas tree fresh throughout the season.
When looking at potential Christmas trees, there are a few small tests you can perform to inspect the trees freshness. First, press down on the branches and let go quickly, if they bounce up very quickly like a spring then they have been harvested very recently. Second, run your fingers along a branch abruptly across the tree needles, if they fall off the tree is drying out and may been harvested a while back, it they remain strong the tree is quite fresh. In fact, needles on fresh, recently harvested trees will not come off easily even if you try to pull them off. Third, you can visually inspect the needles and if you notice a dull white/green color it may be an indication the tree has been cut for a while, but this observation should be made with respect to the tree variety and what is typical for it, because sometimes in certain lighting and with different varieties a tree may not look as fresh as it actually is. It should also be noted that evergreens will shed their old needles about three times throughout the year to begin growing new ones, in fact, late summer is a time many of these tree types will shed. You may find some of these needles in your potential tree but unless you see them falling off of the branches, you should not be alarmed about this. It is a good idea to thoroughly shake the tree before bringing it into your house to get out any previously shedded needles so they will not end up on your carpet.
Try to inspect the tree branches thoroughly to ensure that there are no insect nests. Many types of insects live in evergreen trees and lay eggs there and when it gets warm (like say in your house where the tree will be) these eggs can hatch. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the tree and its branches are clean and free of any non-evergreen tree material. If you find something that looks unusual (which is not uncommon) just pull it off the branches and throw it out.
When deciding what final height you want your tree to be standing in your home, subtract off the tree height the height of your Christmas tree stand. This way you can avoid having to later trim the height of the tree which saves you money as trees are most often priced by height.
Check the sturdiness of the tree branches and decide if they will be adequate to support the Christmas decorations and ornaments you plan to adorn the tree with.
When you go to the Christmas tree lot or farm to buy your tree, don’t forget to take your tree stand to make sure the tree will be a proper size to fit. Ask the folks selling the trees and they will usually give you a fresh cut at the base of the tree, trim the lower branches and fit it to your tree stand for free.
When you get your new Christmas tree home its also a great idea to soak the tree with well water from the garden hose to freshen up the tree before you bring it into the house, just be sure to let it dry a couple of hours before bringing it into the house. This soaking of the evergreen foliage is a great way to help keep the greenery fresh during the season. Have fun picking out the perfect Christmas tree.