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NC State Extension

Christmas Tree Care

Information on Tree Care

Christmas Trees at Home

Christmas Tree Keepability

Real Christmas trees quickly lose quality if handled improperly after they are cut. People who grow, sell, handle, or use real Christmas trees should know something about tree keepability. This is true of the consumer who may use only one tree each year, as well as brokers or growers who handle thousands of trees.

Many publications have been written concerning postharvest physiology, handling, and keepability of Christmas trees. Despite this, there is often ignorance of the subject, resulting in wasted trees, reduced tree quality, erroneous information, or dissatisfied consumers.

An updated version of Agricultural Handbook 66 was published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2016 which reviewed postharvest handling practices for more than 140 agricultural crops. One chapter summarizes postharvest research for Christmas trees, including keepability ratings for about 35 conifer species.

The Christmas tree chapter can be accessed on-line by going to the following link and then scrolling to page 650 (page 660 in the pdf):

The full reference is as follows: Hinesley, L. E. and G. A. Chastagner. 2016. Christmas tree keepability. p. 650-658. In: Gross, Kenneth C., Chien Yi Wang, and Mikal Saltveit (eds.). The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Crops. Agriculture Handbook 66, revised. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area.