The extra-long Christmas season isn’t necessarily a problem for folks who prefer real trees, provided they choose a fresh tree and care for it properly, say Eric McConnell and David Apsley of the Ohio State University Extension.
In general, a fresh-cut tree should last through the holidays with good care — even one that’s decorated on Thanksgiving, says Apsley, a natural resources specialist with the extension and the operator of a tree farm in Jackson County, Ohio. Nevertheless, he says so many variables affect a tree’s ability to stay fresh that it’s impossible to say how long a tree can be displayed safely.
For one thing, you can’t always know how fresh your tree is when you buy it. A tree on a lot might have been harvested locally a day or two ago, or it might have been cut a few weeks earlier and trucked from another state, notes McConnell, a forest product specialist with the extension. Apsley says he drove through the North Carolina mountains last year and saw trees being harvested the first weekend of November.
Even an early harvest may not be a problem if the tree was kept in cold storage, Apsley notes, but there’s no way to know how the tree was handled between field and tree lot.