Friday, November 19, 2021

Tips to Pick and Keep the Perfect Christmas Tree from a Christmas Tree Grower

I think there is something magical about having a real Christmas Tree in our home during the Christmas season, but there are some things to look for when picking out your tree, as well as taking care of it to ensure the magical experience. So I asked Michelle Hartman of Carlson Tree Farm what tips she has for picking out and keeping the perfect Christmas Tree all season long!

Tips to Pick and Keep the Perfect Christmas Tree from a Christmas Tree Grower
Christmas Trees marked and ready for sale
at Carlson Tree Farm located in rural Hampton, Iowa

When it comes to picking out a Christmas Tree...

Michelle of Carlson Tree Farm recommends finding what speaks to you! For some, it might be needle retention, so they should look for a Fraser Fir. For others it's finding the tree that can hold the most ornaments, so they should look for a Scotch Pine. Or if you're looking for something more whimsical, a White Pine with it's soft needles and light branches might be your best bet. For her family, it is finding the most unique tree in the patch and making memories while picking out the tree that is the most important part.

Tips to Pick and Keep the Perfect Christmas Tree from a Christmas Tree Grower
Our family recommends to bundle up while picking out your Christmas Tree

When selecting a Christmas tree, Michelle also recommends to check out the trunk. If your tree has a crooked trunk, you need to make sure you have a tree stand that can accommodate it. Next look at the needles to make sure they look healthy and aren't brown or yellow. Dead needles sitting in the tree from the previous year will be shook off before you take your tree home.

Now that you've brought the tree home...

Make sure to water, water, water. If you aren't going to be able to set up your Christmas tree within an hour of cutting it, Michelle suggests to cut an extra inch off of the trunk to allow the water to soak up into the tree right away. If the pores get closed off due to sap on the bottom of the tree and then it stops collecting water, that is when you'll have problems. She also recommends using warm water for your tree all season long.

Tips to Pick and Keep the Perfect Christmas Tree from a Christmas Tree Grower

Michelle also reminds everyone that the placement of the tree in your home is very important. Do not set it near a fireplace or a heat register. That will dry up the tree, as well as can be a fire hazard.

When the Christmas season is over, Michelle recommends recycling your tree by contacting your local County Conservation or DNR program to see where you can drop it off to be turned into wood chips or fish habitats in the bottom of ponds.

Tips to Pick and Keep the Perfect Christmas Tree from a Christmas Tree Grower

Thank you to Michelle Hartman of Carlson Tree Farm for letting me come out to interview her as they get ready for opening weekend at their family's tree farm. I hope you all have fun picking out your Christmas Tree this year, while making memories, building traditions and enjoying this magical time of year! When do you traditionally set up your Christmas Tree?


  1. I love the smell of a real tree. Great tips!

    1. Me too! I feel like it really makes the home smell like Christmas!

  2. When I was 8 or 10 my dad would pick out what HE deemed "the perfect tree". He'd bring it home, make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree trunk, then hang it in the garage UPSIDE DOWN! He said it helped keep the sap in the branches longer and he'd soak it down with water EVERY night after he got off work. He'd put it into a heavy crock n fill it with sand - he said it kept the tree watered better and held it upright the best. He would bring it in to our living room about 2-3 wks before Christmas and we'd decorate it. When needles started turning brown n falling off, it would go out for City to recycle. LOVED the smell of a fresh tree! Now I only have artificial ones, but we put it up after we are done eating Thanksgiving dinner, while watching football games. Just not quite the same, but it works!