How Fresh Are Your Trees?
Defining Christmas Tree Freshness
- Fresh Christmas trees look and feel the same as they did before they were cut.
- They have supple foliage, a natural dark green color, and a tight hold on their needles.
- Fresh Christmas trees have the capacity to take up water when the consumer displays it in his or her home.
- A fresh Christmas tree will look almost as good displayed after Christmas as when it was first decorated.
Freshness of Fraser Fir as Defined by Moisture Content
- Fresh — Greater than 100% Moisture Content
- The tree is in good condition and able to rapidly take up water under proper care.
- Fresh trees will perform well in the home and represent no fire hazard.
- Somewhat Fresh — 80 to 100% Moisture Content
- The tree is still capable of slowly taking up water under proper care.
- The tree performs normally in the home with no fire hazard.
- Dry — Less than 80% Moisture Content
- The tree is unlikely to take up water even under proper care and likely to continue to dry out.
- Dry trees at the time of purchase represent quality and safety issues for your consumers.
Different tree species will have different moisture content thresholds from Fraser fir.
Fresh Tree — Dry Tree Comparison
|Fresh Trees||Dry Trees|
Over the 2003-2005 harvest seasons, NC State University faculty visited North Carolina Christmas tree farms and retail lots in North Carolina and Florida. The survey consisted of:The 2003-2005 NCSU Retailer Survey
- Determining moisture content from foliage samples from cut Christmas trees on North Carolina farms.
- Determining moisture content of stored and displayed trees on retail lots.
- Evaluating Christmas tree retailers’ tree care techniques.
The results of this survey were:
- Trees were very fresh on North Carolina farms.
- Freshness problems occurred in all retailer segments, particularly store-front displays and independent lots with no irrigation.
- Successes also occurred in all retailer segments associated with the following practices:
Displayed trees in water
Observations regarding retail tree care from the survey included:
- Southern exposure can be overcome with optimal care.
- Trees that are irrigated during storage and display stay fresher.
- Daily watering is better than occasional watering.
- Full shade is better than partial shade. Partial shade is better than full sun.
- Wind barriers preserve moisture.
- Multiple deliveries provide fresher trees than single deliveries.
Freshness Survey Report — More detailed information from the 2003-2005 retailer survey