Preparing for the holiday shopping season at Watters has been crazy this week. It's the annual mad rush to harvest, ship, unload, and set up hundreds of various holiday plants, trees, and poinsettias. Fully packed trucks hurriedly deliver trees, poinsettias, Christmas cactuses, amaryllises, fresh wreaths and garlands then run back to the farm and hurriedly reload for another trip. It's a busy time, but exciting to feel the energy of the season charge each day!
Next weekend is when most folks traditionally buy their Christmas trees, but before walking onto the lot they should know how to choose the freshest cut tree, what tree choices are available, and which trees will stay “fresh” through the New Year.
Something to know before buying a Christmas tree: there are trees being sold that were cut months ago and were sprayed with artificial preservatives or soaked in lakes while waiting for their ship dates. Farms using these techniques harvest and ship for the national retail chains. If the tree looks like it has been cut weeks ago, it probably was.
Stay away from trees displayed in the Arizona sun. Our sun is so intense, the air so dry, that just a few days of standing in our mountain air makes a difference between a tree that will make it safely to Christmas and one that is a tinder box waiting to spontaneously burst into flames.
Green needles leaping off the branch as your hand glides across the branch is never good; stay away from these trees no matter how fresh they look. Fresh trees have green needles that will stay on the branches when touched.
Not all trees are equal when it comes to freshness. At Watters we sell three different varieties of Christmas trees. In order of longest lasting freshness to the shortest -lived cut tree they are: Fraser fir, Nordmann fir, and Nobel fir. Of course, shape, size, color, and texture all go into choosing a Christmas tree, but if you don't have a favorite tree already in mind, use this 3-tree freshness guide to make a decision.
As all trees lose moisture they lose weight, so it stands to reason that the heaviest trees are the freshest trees. If deciding between two trees, choose the heavier one. A heavy tree is still full of water within its branches.
A big trunk indicates a tree that lasts longer because it has a greater water-holding capacity. The trunk of any tree is much like a cluster of straws glued together. The capillaries store and move water up through the trunk. The larger the trunk, the more water-retaining straws there are, and the “fresher” your tree will be for the longest time. The wider the trunk, the better; just make sure it will fit into your Christmas tree stand!
Best Tree Stand not found on Amazon
Best Overall Christmas Tree Stand on Amazon
Krinner’s Tree Genie Deluxe L $79 on Amazon
4.7 stars, 1,430 reviews
This tree stand is equipped with an original cable operation and a fully automatic water level indicator that takes the guessing out of watering the tree. Just place your tree on the spike in the opened stand, hold it straight while pumping the foot pedal until the claws firmly hold the trunk in place. Done! Made in Bavaria.
Best Christmas Tree Stands for Live Trees
Jack-Post Welded Steel Christmas Tree Stand $69 on Amazon
4.5 stars, 104 reviews
A nice heavy-duty stand. Many stands will not accommodate larger trunks, but this stand can support a huge tree trunk. Construction is high quality, guaranteeing years of enjoyment. The smaller water capacity is concerning, but you should be checking your water levels daily anyway. A bit pricey, but it does what it's advertised to do!
Cinco C-148E Express Tree Stand $33 on Amazon
4.1 stars, 319 reviews
The push-pull ratchet mechanism of this stand makes tree set-up and take-down easy tasks. Three strong galvanized pins in the center of the stand's base help lock and centralize the tree before the final securing adjustment. A clean leather cloth finish is used on the stand together with a deep spill guard and reinforced screw holes. This stand should require no more than ten minutes to get a tree up and stabilized.
4.1 stars, 164 reviews
The Swivel Straight tree stand allows you to set up a Christmas tree in three simple steps: clamp it, raise it, and swivel it straight! This stand is suitable for real trees up to 10 feet tall with trunks up to 5 inches wide. Large bolts make tightening screws easy. The water reservoir holds a puny 3.5 quarts of water, so the water level must be checked often. When the season is over, drain slots prevent messy spills during disassembly. This stand will get the most crooked, messed-up tree straight in minutes. It's a Christmas miracle stand!
Best Rolling Christmas Tree Stand
TreeKeeper 29-Inch Rolling Tree Stand $60 on Amazon
4.3 stars, 55 reviews
An easy way to roll your artificial tree in and out of the garage, or just to make space in the living room by rolling the tree closer to the wall. Four locking castors lock the tree in place. The stand raises your tree an additional 2.90 inches above the floor. Ideal for those trees that need to be on the move.
Best Rotating Christmas Tree Stand
Christmas Tree Stand Ez Rotate $130 on Amazon
4.2 stars, 195 reviews
Really made for artificial trees that rotate 360 degrees right in the stand. The light plugs are built into the stand to keep wires from getting tangled. Perfect for stringing lights or garlands; just stand in one place, turn on the rotating stand and let the lights wrap themselves! The cost is a bit high, but worth the added motion and distinctive touch of style.
Best Christmas Tree Stand for Small Trees
Good Tidings CNCC163 Cinco Tabletop Christmas Tree Stand $17 on Amazon
3.9 stars, 112 reviews
Designed to hold smaller tabletop trees with trunks under 3 inches wide. Spill guard prevents over-filling mishaps of the .75 gallon reservior. A rust-proof spike secures the trunk. Quick turn plastic bolts and threaded posts make securing the trunk smooth. Perfect for trees from the small to the tiny.
COMING SOON: Watch for our reviews on the best Christmas tree preservatives and tree bags.
Wilt Stop' guarantees a Christmas tree will “last” through the New Year. This clear spray is used to coat the needles with a festive sheen; but, more importantly, it prevents the tree from perspiring. If the tree doesn't lose moisture through its needles it will retain more water and stay “fresher” longer. 'Wilt Stop' is a must for trees in very dry homes and in rooms that are kept on the warmer side of their thermostats. 'Wilt Stop' is even more effective on fresh-cut wreaths, garlands, and swags.
'Tree Preservative' added to a stand's water basin really works! It keeps a tree's pores open and allows for more water uptake into the tree. Stay away from adding sugar or carbonated drinks; they simply clog the tree’s system and reduce water absorption. Trees can “drink” over a pint of water each day, so check the water level daily and supply lukewarm water as needed. All the more reason to us a tree stand that holds a gallon or more of water.
I hope that you e-readers will hit 'Share' so your friends/followers can have all this information and become Christmas tree expert buyers, too!
Until next week, I’ll see you amongst the Christmas trees here at Watters Garden Center.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or at his website WattersGardenCenter.com. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WattersGardenCenter
Watters Garden Center is a locally owned and operated garden center that specializes in providing avid gardeners and novices alike with the expertise and products to get things growing in the mountains of Arizona.