By Kent the Maintenance Gent
Holiday warmth should come from within, and maybe some eggnog, not from accidental Christmas Tree fires. Tis the season to discuss Christmas Tree safety, maintenance, set-up and disposal! Ho, ho, ho!
When Christmas trees become dry, they become very flammable. So, with that in mind, it is important to keep your tree well hydrated, well maintained and away from anything that can spark danger.
Christmas Tree Rules
1. Keep it Quenched!
- Make sure to use a quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Trees are thirsty animals and you have to keep them hydrated!
- Make a half-inch cut at the bottom of the trunk so it can drink water. Make the cut flat… no fancy vee shapes, that doesn’t help according to the National Christmas Tree Association or NCTA (yes, Christmas Trees have their own trade group!).
- We’ve all been told that it is not the size of the tree that matters. But according to the NCTA the temperature of the water doesn’t matter either! So, hot or cold… let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!
- Check the stand daily at least twice daily for water level and make sure it doesn’t drop below the base of the tree. When trees get dry, they get angry and flammable!
2. Keep it Upright!
- Don’t whittle down the trunk to fit the stand… just buck up and get a large enough stand!
3. Keep it Cool!
- Use lights that are low heat such as ones with miniature bulbs. It’s a Christmas Tree, not a lighthouse beacon.
- Keep trees away from sources of heat (heaters, vents, sunlight, etc.). Also, don’t throw gas cans and rubber tires into your fireplace or take baths with a plugged-in toaster. These are all in the same category of bad ideas.
- Always turn off your Christmas Tree lights when you’re leaving your house. Unless you want to make sure it is well lit for the Fire Department.
4. But Don’t Keep it!
- Never burn any part of your tree in your wood stove or fireplace. And keep your hands and feet away from the fire, too. All of the above will burn fast (though the pine may not smell as bad as your third-degree burn). There is wood that is great for this and it isn’t pine from your Christmas Tree which will burn too fast, too hot and be too smoky.
- Don’t keep your Christmas tree well beyond the holiday season. Remember, it’s called a Christmas tree, not a President’s Day tree or Groundhog’s Day tree for a reason. Time tends to dry things, even in the Pacific Northwest.
- Do NOT throw your tree in the garbage! There are services that will pick up the tree for you. I like to give the local Boy Scouts a donation to haul the trees away. But below we will include some links to that and other options. You will likely face a fine from your management team who is responsible for keeping the garbage areas clean for waste management. Therefore, they hire magic elves to keep a look out at all hours of the day to make sure anyone who violates this rule is held accountable. Not only will there be a fine, but you will be immediately put on Santa’s naughty list for the following year. So, don’t do it!!!
- Candles (ahem… menorahs), make sure you never leave an open flame unattended and that it is out of reach of children and pets. Especially mischievous cats!
- It is a myth that alcohol makes the tree smell nicer. All it will do is impair one’s ability to drive or operate heavy machinery!
- And at no point in time should you ever use Liquid Plumber for your tree! (It is my duty to make sure I highlight the dangers of Liquid Plumber in every blog post.)
From myself, and everyone at Milestone Property Management, have a happy and safe holiday season and may the new year bring you and your loved ones much joy and happiness!
Tree Recycling Options
Vancouver (Boy Scouts): http://www.columbian.com/news/2016/dec/06/boy-scouts-to-recycle-trees-collect-coats/
Portland (Boy Scouts): http://www.cpctroop100.mytroop.us/
Searchable Database for Recycling Options: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/tools-living/garbage-and-recycling/find-a-recycler
Please email us with other tree recycling options at email@example.com and we will update this list with other vetted options.