The many benefits of choosing a real Christmas tree

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A living Christmas tree is one of the greatest gifts you can give your home for the holiday. Picking a live tree can add an authentic touch to the season, and provides some other benefits. Danny Moncheski, Community Forester with the Conservation Department, is with us today to talk about offer tips for selecting a live tree.

What are some advantages of a live tree over an artificial one?
• Real trees are a renewable resource
• Natural tree farms put more greenery on the landscape
• Tree farms are local businesses
• Artificial ones last only an average of 6 years and end up in landfills and are not recyclable or biodegradable

As far as live trees what are the options?
• Fresh cut;must be disposed of responsibly or recycled when finished
o Purchase precut tree from a lot
o Cut your own from a tree farm
• Live evergreen, which can be replanted after the holidays

Any suggestions for those who choose a fresh cut tree?
• Pick a freshly cut trees (give it the shake test to see how many needles fall)
• Place tree away from heat sources like furnace, wood stove, fireplaces and drying vents
• Keep properly watered during the holidays

What are some tips for selecting a live tree?
• Pick a species that will thrive in Missouri`s climate (Eastern white pine, Eastern redcedar, concolor fir, Douglas fir, Norway spruce)
• Think about the site where you`ll be planting it (distance from structures, power lines, Right Tree Right Place, etc.) and make sure it will be a good fit

What about caring for the tree?
• Keep the root ball moist, but not soggy
• Do not remove burlap—the root ball will fall apart
• Ease temperature transitions by placing the tree in a garage or basement for a few days before setting it up in your home or planting it outside
• Plant the tree as soon as possible after the holidays
• Plant in well-drained soil
• Dig the hole large enough and do so before the ground freezes