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  Your You Bet Your Garden Top Ten Tips for Happy Holiday Trees

1. Cut it yourself at a tree farm; its great family fun and you'll KNOW that tree is fresh!

2. No matter where you get it, shake it hard to dislodge dead needles when you get home.

3. Cut an extra inch or two off the bottom of the trunk.

4. Place that freshly-cut trunk in a big bucket of water overnight.

5. Don't remove any bark from the trunk; the tree needs that bark to absorb water!

6. Position your tree away from radiators and other sources of heat.

7. Forget aspirin, pennies and other urban legend tree preservers--especially if you have pets in the house! Adding some 7Up to the water--about one cup 7-Up to every four cups of water--will provide your tree with the sugar and citric acid that really prolong needle life.

8. Check your light strings carefully; and trash any damaged ones.

9. Keep that water reservoir filled at all times!

AND

10. Don't forget the milk and cookies on Christmas Eve!

But let's be honest-- keeping that reservoir filled is a drag! You have to crawl on the floor, battle those bottom branches, and you always spill half the water on the carpet. A really cool gadget called "Santa's Magic Water Spout" (I just report em folks; I don't name 'em) allows you to keep that tank filled while you stand up! It looks like a bell shaped ornament on your tree; but the bell is hollow, and leads to a three-foot long tube that runs down to the reservoir. You slowly pour water into the bell and it fills the reservoir down below--there's even a built in water level indicator!

Lots of tree farms and stores carry the product, including stores in the "Do it Best" chain. (Please call the store first to make sure they have some in stock.) They're even on sale right now!

Special Instructions for TRULY Live Trees!

Thinking about getting a truly live tree for the holidays? A balled and burlaped one you'll plant outdoors afterwards? It's a great idea--but plan to set it up outdoors for the holidays (like on a porch or deck) or be prepared to get it in and out of the house FAST. Truly live trees should spend no more than four days indoors, and that's in a room you can keep well below 60 degrees. (If that tree gets all warm and toasty, it will think Spring has arrived and start growing again--then you'll go and deliver in into the clutches of Old Man Winter, and it may well perish from the shock!) But here's the BEST tip of all: Dig the planting hole for that tree NOW. (Or on the next nice day.) If you don't, I guarantee that soil will be froze solid as steel after Christmas. Cover the hole with a big piece of plywood and maybe even bag up the soil and put IT somewhere it won't freeze.

Oh -- and have lots of help around--those big root balls can weigh several hundred pounds.

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