Newswise — ‘Tis the season for many families across West Virginia to begin decking their halls for the holidays with garland, lights and most commonly, the Christmas tree. While the ease and convenience of a pre-lit, artificial tree appeals to some, others prefer the authentic look and smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree.

According to West Virginia University Extension Service Forest Resources Specialist Dave McGill, a fresh-cut tree does require a bit more attention and care, but if you take a few simple precautions, you and your family can safely enjoy your tree all season long.  


“Once you get the tree home, slice the trunk of the tree 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.”

“When you’re 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.”

“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.”

“Each year, the West Virginia Division of Forestry puts out a Christmas tree book that lists the choose-and-cut tree farms throughout our state. If you’re looking for fresh-cut tree farms in your area, be sure to check out that resource at or contact your local WVU Extension office.” – Dave McGill, forest resources specialist and professor, WVU Extension Service 

Other resources:  

WVU Extension Service video: Christmas tree selection and safety with Dave McGill 

WVU Extension Service: Proper Christmas Tree Selection and Safety 

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