For many of us, a natural tree trimmed with decorations is what Christmas is all about. Caring for a cut tree properly will prolong its fresh scent and vibrant color. Also important is knowing how to recycle the tree after the holidays.
It takes tree farmers about ten years to produce a 10-foot Christmas tree. The best varieties to choose are Noble fir and Nordman fir, because they have good color and scent and hang onto their needles well, and Scots pine, which has the best scent.
Choosing a Tree:
Buy a locally grown tree to support growers in your community. You'll minimize the impact of transport miles and guarantee it has been freshly cut and the needles will stay on longer. Norway spruce, the "original" Christmas tree, is mostly grown in the northeastern US and may be cut down weeks before you buy it, which is why it sheds needles quickly. Wherever you are in the world, your best bet is to choose a species of tree that is grown locally to ensure freshness. Once your cut tree is home, cut 1/4 to 1/8 inch off the base of the trunk, stand it in water, add a tablespoon of honey (which mimics the tree's sap) and keep the room as cool as possible to help the tree stay fresher longer.
Recycling Your Tree:
Currently, a large percentage of cut trees are sent to landfill sites but recycled trees can be chipped and used to benefit the environment again as mulch, path surfacing and soil improvers. Many communities now provide a collection site from which the trees will be properly recycled.