As the holiday shopping season kicks off today, many families will be looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Real trees pose a fire danger because they can dry out after they are cut. They can also make a huge mess of pine needles in your home as they dry out and fall off. University of Illinois Horticulturist Richard Hentschel says if you buy a tree from a lot, it’s also a good idea to give it a good shake before you take it home. He says it allows any dead needles to fall off but also gives you a good idea of the cosmetics of the tree before you bring it home.
Hentschel says that after purchase of the tree, you should have the lot or personally, cut the stump of the tree so it can absorb water quickly. He says to place the tree into a bucket of room-temperature water outside after the cut before bringing it in the house for decoration.
Hentschel says to wait a few more hours after you bring it inside so it can adjust to inside temperatures. Plenty of water during the first few days in the house, he says, will help it last through the holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately one tenth of one percent of residential fires involve a Christmas Tree throughout the year – either real or artificial – due to mostly electrical distribution, lighting, or a heat source being too close to a tree.
Disposal after the holiday season is done should never be burning a tree either. The dry trees have a quicker average burn time. Burning pine needles or pine wood in a fire place also is a hazard, as it contains a higher amount of creosote which can cause build up leading to chimney fires. Jacksonville’s annual Christmas tree pick up for disposal usually is the first Monday after New Year’s. Residents who can haul their tree away can bring them to the city dump during that time, as well.