Christmas Trees

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Selecting and Caring For Your Christmas Tree

Selecting a Tree

You basically have two choices when you choose a Christmas tree: real or artificial. If you select a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant. If you buy a real tree, your choices—and your responsibilities—are much broader. Always follow these precautions:

  • Select the freshest-looking tree available. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard. 

  • Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.

  • The trunk should be sticky to the touch. 


Selecting a Location for Your Tree

  • Place your tree in an area that is away from any heat source. Heaters, downdraft of heater vents, wood stoves, fireplaces, large appliances such as televisions and direct sunlight cause trees to dry out very fast. Avoiding these locations will also decrease the chance of accidental ignition.

  • Keep the tree out of high traffic areas and away from stairways and doors. Keep emergency escape routes clear of trees, packages and furniture.

  • Secure the tree so that it cannot be knocked over by pets or children.


 Tree Decorating

  • Do not overload your tree with lights. By decorating the tree with a large quantity of lights, you add a constant source of heat.

  • Use only decorative indoor lights approved by a recognized laboratory. NEVER use outdoor lights on an indoor tree. Make sure that all connections are tight and the bulbs and cords are in good condition, not loose or frayed as to cause a short.

  • Never leave the lights on when leaving the house or going to bed.

  • Keep candles away from Christmas trees. NEVER use candles as Christmas tree decorations.

  • Be able to turn off the lights without having to crawl under the tree.


Caring for Your Tree

If you take proper care of your tree, there is virtually no chance it can catch fire.

  • Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.

  • Saw off the butt end of your tree ˝-inch above the original cut and immediately place the tree in water in a cool place until you are ready to display it.

  • Put the tree in a stand that is large enough and designed not to tip over.

  • Place the Christmas tree well away from heat registers, space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, television sets or other sources of heat that will dry out your tree. Also place the tree away from any doors and keep the emergency escape route clear of trees, packages and furniture.

  • Never let your tree run out of water; check it daily, as your tree absorbs water readily after cutting. If you let the tree run out of water, re-cut the butt end of your tree as above.

  • Mist the branches and foliage with water daily to keep them moist and fresh.

  • Lighted candles or other open flames should never be used on or near Christmas trees.

  • Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.

  • Check electric lights and connections. Worn, frayed wires on electric cords must not be used. Use only UL approved electrical decorations and extension cords.

  • Avoid use of combustible decorations and flammable reflectors for colored lights. Keep metal foil icicles or tinsel away from bulb sockets.

  • Avoid accumulating wrapping paper and electrical toys under trees.

  • Always unplug tree lights and other decorations when out of the room or sleeping.


Disposing of Your Tree

  • When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.

  • The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

  • Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

  • Consider converting your tree to a bird feeder with suet, peanut butter, and seeds.




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