West Virginia forestry specialist recommends live Christmas trees

West Virginia forestry specialist recommends live Christmas trees
There are good reasons to opt for a live Christmas tree, ideally sourced nearby. (Photo courtesy Julianna Arjes)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While the ease and convenience of an artificial Christmas tree has genuine appeal, a professor and forest resource specialist is making the case for the authentic look and smell of a fresh-cut tree.


Purchasing live trees from local sources puts a maximum amount of money back into the local economy, and tree farms sustain jobs year-round.

Though Dave McGill says a fresh-cut tree requires more attention and care, a few simple precautions can keep it in good shape into January.

“Once you get the tree home, slice the trunk again—just to make sure it’s a fresh cut. Stand it up in your stand, and make sure it’s stable. You also want to make sure you water it every day—that’s the critical thing," McGill said.


It's also essential to find an ideal placement for the tree away from heat sources.

“Another thing about tree safety is where you position it in the first place. You don’t want to put it by heaters or too close to a fire source or an open flame—like a stove or an open fireplace—so that it doesn’t dry out and become a fire hazard."

McGill says it's equally important to ensure the decorations don't present hazards as well.

“When decorating the tree, that’s a good time to think about safety because you’re going to put electrical lights on it. If your lights don’t seem to be working properly, don’t use them.”


Of course, buying a live tree from an in-state Christmas tree farm helps support the local economy in ways that the purchase of a store-bought artificial tree cannot.

Hannah Booth, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications for the WVU Extension Service, contributed to this article.

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