The tree is the central focal point of every Christmas celebration in North America, but did you know this tradition dates back to Northern Germany and the Baltic states in the 16th century? The modern Christmas tree has evolved over time but still has its roots from these early days.
Today, the Christmas tree is a symbol of the Christmas spirit and brings into our urban lives the fragrance of the rural forest. Art's Nursery is proud to offer a fine selection of beautiful, locally grown and imported live and freshly cut Christmas trees as well as all sorts of accessories and decorations.
Live Christmas Trees
Live trees have intact root systems and can be planted in your garden after Christmas.
They are available in two types, balled and burlapped (BB) or potted. Balled and burlapped trees have been dug up, and their root systems cut and wrapped into burlap. They are still living and will regenerate their roots over time.
Potted trees have their entire root systems growing in containers or pots.
In the Fall and Winter, Christmas trees are in a state of dormancy. Once inside, surrounded by warmth and dryness over an extended period of time, the trees may break this dormancy and begin growing. This tender new growth can be damaged by cold temperatures once the tree is replanted outside. In fact, in extreme cases the entire tree may perish from the shock of the outdoor conditions. To avoid this, do not keep a live tree inside for more than 10 days. After Christmas, place the live tree in a cool sheltered position such as a garage or greenhouse to allow it to acclimatize. After this time, it is ready to be planted outside.
Cut Christmas Trees
Cut Christmas trees have been grown at a farm, cut and delivered to us.
Freshly cut trees look healthy, green and many will give off a strong scent or aroma when the trunk is cut or the needles crushed or bruised. Fresh trees will also retain their needles well. Cut trees will only remain fresh for a certain number of weeks depending on the type and the conditions the tree has been exposed to during transport and storage. Once cut, a tree attempts to protect the wound by sealing it with a layer of sap. This sap rapidly reduces the tree's ability to absorb nutrients and water. Once its reserves of water are exhausted, the needles will dry out and begin to fall off the tree. The longer the time between cutting and purchase, the more likely needle loss becomes. For this reason, it is best to purchase your tree early and get it into water as soon as possible.
Christmas trees are also available in different grades. The premium, 1st grade trees are the best cared for, the best in appearance and command the highest price. 2nd grade trees may have minor defects, broken branches or may not have the perfect shape. At Art's we offer the highest quality, premium trees, and keep our prices competitive to those of the large retailers.
When choosing a tree, always examine its appearance and measure its needle retentiveness by picking it up and dropping it on its base once or twice or by gently grabbing the needles and pulling them towards you. While all trees will lose a few needles, excessive needle drop may indicate a dry tree that may not be the best choice for your home.
Common Christmas Tree Varieties
The most common and widely available type of christmas tree. The Douglas fir is fast growing, making it the most economical type of Christmas tree. Soft, long needles emit a light, fresh, lemony scent when touched or bruised. Branches are slim and will bend under the weight of heavy ornaments. Can be found in a variety of sizes from small to very large due to its quick rate of growth.
A true specimen Christmas tree. While not extremely well known, the Grand Fir is perhaps one of the most unique. Soft, mid to dark green needles are glossy and arranged in flattened sprays. Looks very attractive when lit. The most fragrant of all the Christmas tree varieties. When touched or bruised, the needles give off an incredibly strong orange-citrus fragrance. Branches are mid-sized and can carry significant weight. Needles do drop quicker than other varieties.
Very similar to the Balsam Fir, Frasers offer strong, thick branches, short, stiff needles and a pleasing fresh fragrance. Needles have great retention - second only to the Noble Fir. Easily identifiable as its needles have a whitish lines on the underside. A great all around Christmas tree without the premium price of the Noble.
The creme de la creme of Christmas trees. The Noble fir has elegant upturned tufts of stiff needles, heavy strong branches capable of carrying many ornaments and a great forest fragrance. Has the best needle retention of all of the Christmas trees. Nobles are very slow growing trees and as a result often command a higher price than the other varieties.
Many other types of Christmas trees are available around the world, but the ones we carry are the most commonly available in the Pacific Northwest. Other popular favourites include the Nordmann Fir, Scotch Pine, Balsam Fir, Spruce and others. Some of these are available from us as live Christmas trees.
Caring for your Christmas Tree
At Art's we are pleased to offer each and every tree a fresh cut. This will enhance the trees ability to absorb water and thereby increase its cut life span. It is essential that a fresh cut be fully immersed in water as soon as possible. If too much time elapses, give the tree a second cut with a saw. Remove about half to one inch of the stump to remove the sap sealing the bottom of the tree,
If you need to store the tree before setting it up and decorating it, keep the trunk in a bucket of fresh water in a cool, sheltered location away from sun ,heat and wind. If the tree will be in storage for more than a day or so, make another fresh half-inch cut up the trunk before decorating it.
There are three key strategies to follow when caring for your Christmas tree:
The first is to place it in a good location. Ensure the tree is placed in area away from drafts, winds and heat sources like fireplaces, wood stoves, heat vents, radiators and tv's.
Warm dry houses are hard on Christmas trees. The longer they are indoors, the faster their needles will dry up, turn brown and fall off.
The second key factor in caring for your Christmas tree is to keep it well watered. In the fall and winter trees are dormant. When they are brought iinto the warm indoors, they will assume that it is Spring, break dormancy and begin to grow. This causes them to dramatically increase their water intake. Daily watering may be required as an average sized Christmas tree can absorb up to a gallon of water a day. Ensure that the water level in the stand is always above the cut line or else dried tree sap will form a new seal blocking the further uptake of water. If this happens, take the tree out of its stand and make a new cut ½ inch up from the previous one.
A final tree care option is to use an anti-transpirant product like `Tree Fresh`. This substance reduces the amount of water lost by the needles thereby helping the tree stay fresher for a long period of time.
Avoiding Potential Hazards
The number one hazard in having any type of Christmas tree at home is the threat of an electrical fire. Always make sure any Christmas lights on or near the tree are in good working order. Use only CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved lights. Avoid using outdoor lights as they can generate a lot of heat - stick with the smaller, indoor mini-lights for your Christmas tree. Finally, never leave the lights on when sleeping or when you leave the house. Be safe and enjoy a very festive holiday season with your beautiful Christmas tree!
Get Your Christmas Trees At Arts!
Live Christmas trees are available at Arts all year round. Hundreds of freshly cut trees arrive in late November and December and are available through the holiday season. We display all trees unwrapped so you can browse, inspect and choose the best one for you and your family. Every tree receives a fresh cut and is wrapped for easy transport. Simply take it home, put it in its stand and decorate! Delivery is also available for a nominal fee.