Everything You Need to Know About Christmas Trees (And How to Avoid Burning the House Down)

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The CEO of tree maintenance franchise Joshua Tree Experts shares some expert insight into how homeowners can stay safe this holiday season.

Joshua Tree Experts, the Pennsylvania-based home services franchise that provides tree maintenance, lawn care and pest control services, is getting in the holiday spirit this year by spreading some cheer — and knowledge — about Christmas trees and home safety.

"While we aren't Christmas tree experts, we are certainly tree experts,” said Joshua Tree Experts CEO Joshua Malik. “Since being founded over 15 years ago, we’ve always focused on training, safety and best practices. Our 50-plus team members hold almost 60 industry-specific certifications, and we pride ourselves on offering our clients as much information and knowledge as possible. Now, as we all get ready for the holidays, it is important to ensure homeowners are educated and prepared to safely care for the Christmas trees they will be bringing into their family homes.”

In the U.S., 98% of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2% are cut from the wild. It takes six to 10 years of fighting heavy rain, wind, hail and drought to grow those mature trees, Malik says, and most Christmas trees are cut weeks before they get to a retail outlet.

Unfortunately, these amazing trees can also be dangerous. In the U.S., Christmas trees start approximately 210 house fires each year and fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage, according to the United States Fire Administration. In order to avoid fires and other dangerous situations, Malik says it is essential that homeowners understand how to safely maintain these indoor trees and keep them hydrated.

“First off, choose a recently cut, healthy tree,” Malik said. “A fresh tree holds moisture better. Grab a tree branch and run your hand over it — no more than a few needles should fall off. As soon as you get the tree home, cut a 1/2 inch off the trunk and place the tree in a bucket of water until you’re ready to bring it into the house. It is very important to keep new Christmas trees watered thoroughly when they reach your home. In the first week, a Christmas tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.”

From there, Malik notes homeowners need to regularly water the tree and keep it in a sturdy position. “When you set the tree up to decorate it, make sure it’s stable in the stand and won’t tip over, and water it frequently,” he said. “A six-foot tree needs about one gallon of water, every other day.”

Homeowners also need to practice caution when decorating the Christmas tree, Malik says. “When decorating, use lights rated for indoor use that don’t create heat, such as LED lights,” he said. “And don’t overload your electrical outlet. If you want to power dozens of strands of lights and other electric decorations, plug them into different circuits around the house. If you continually blow a circuit, it’s probably overloaded.”

Some of the other tips Malik points to include avoiding the use of electric lights on a metal tree, unplugging tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed and keeping the tree at least three-feet away from candles and fireplaces.

“Christmas trees are meant to bring joy and peace to our homes, and they shouldn’t be a source of stress and worry,” said Malik. “At Joshua Tree Experts, we know that the key to maintaining any type of tree in or around the home is having the knowledge and understanding to confidently provide the best care possible. By becoming a little bit more of a Christmas tree expert, you can ensure your holiday season is safe, special and evergreen.”

Founded in LeHigh Valley, PA in 2005 by Joshua Malik, Joshua Tree Experts started as a general tree services and plant health care company. After nearly a decade spent perfecting the business model, Joshua Tree Experts launched new services including lawn care and pest control to cater to client demand and to offer prospective franchisees multiple revenue streams. In 2021, the brand began franchising and is seeking qualified franchise owners to bring this much-needed service to markets throughout the country.

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Julie Green
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