The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 13, 2013

Still need a Christmas tree?




Picking the perfect tree

When it comes to picking the perfect tree to finish out your Christmas tradition, the Division of Forestry has a few tips:

1. Buy locally grown Christmas trees, if possible.

2. Bounce and shake the tree. Pull the needles. If the needles fall off, the tree is not fresh.

3. Just before the Christmas tree is put in the tree stand, make a slanting-cut about an inch or two up the trunk from where the tree was originally cut. Cutting off the lower inch or two will make for a fresh, clean area that will let the tree absorb water easily.

4. Keep the base of the tree under water at all times. A Christmas tree may use a quart of water a day, so keep a close watch on the water supply.

5. When it comes to tree decorations, all lights should be checked for faulty wiring and sockets. If any flaw is found, throw away the set of lights. Only lights with the Underwriters Laboratory safety seal should be used. Other sets might be dangerous.

6. Keep all flammable decorations, like paper or cotton, away from the tree. Angel hair, snow spray, and white plastic foam are common decorations on Christmas trees. When used separately, angel hair and snow spray are pretty safe. The National Fire Protection Association reports that when snow spray is used on angel hair, the combination is so flammable that just a spark will cause it to burst into flame.

7. Artificial trees can be dangerous, too. Never string lights on a metal tree. A short circuit can easily electrify the tree and seriously injure anyone who comes into contact with it. Colored spotlights should be used to light this type of tree.

8. Dispose of your tree in the proper way when the holiday season is over. Never try to burn a live Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.

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