Real or fake: Which will it be?

By Laurie Garretson
Nov. 30, 2017 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated Dec. 1, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

Laurie Garretson   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Real or artificial? That's often a family debate when it comes to the annual Christmas tree.

Americans prefer to go natural when it comes to their type of Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. It's estimated that in 2016, more than 27 million freshly cut Christmas trees were sold, and this year's prediction is for nearly 29 million cut trees to be sold. There were only 18.6 artificial trees sold in 2016, according to the association.

The association also says real trees are renewable and recyclable resources. On the other side of the debate is that artificial trees can be used over and over again.

If your family plans to have a real Christmas tree this year, here are a few suggestions from the association for the best ways to keep the tree fresh, beautiful and from becoming a fire hazard.

As soon as you have your tree and are ready to head home, first wrap the tree in a plastic tarp to protect it on the drive home. Once home, it's important to cut off the bottom inch to inch-and-a-half of the trunk and get it in its stand with water as soon as possible. A fresh cut off the bottom of the tree trunk helps the tree to draw moisture up the trunk and into the needles. It's important not to let the base of the tree dry out in order to keep the needles fresher.

It is typical for a tree to absorb a quart of water for each inch of its diameter. The tree will absorb the most water during the first couple of weeks.

Most tree stands will need to be topped off on a daily basis. Keep the tree away from heaters, fans and direct sunlight that would speed up the drying process. Using a room humidifier can help keep the tree fresher longer. With proper care, a cut Christmas tree can stay fresh for about a month.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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