Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Thins My Father Taught me - – MAT T GOULET

Ig­nore the ones al­ready bun­dled up, lean­ing against the trailer. They’re hid­ing some­thing – a gap­ing hole, brown spots, a warped trunk. In­stead look through the trees that are open, in terms of both their boughs and their flaws. Height is easy. The taller the bet­ter, as­sum­ing you’ve pre­mea­sured the ceil­ing at home and know it’ll fit. What a lot of peo­ple for­get is width. Most trees are trimmed at an 80 per cent ta­per. So a three-me­tre­tall tree has about a 2,5-me­tre-wide base. Keep that in mind. To test a tree’s fresh­ness, roll a branch in your hand. If nee­dles come off eas­ily, you don’t want it. Pines have long thin nee­dles that don’t shed, but their branches are weak. (Of course, in South Africa the pine tree is an in­va­sive alien. In­dige­nous al­ter­na­tives that at least look like the orig­i­nal in­clude the Wid­dring­to­nia nod­i­flora or moun­tain cy­press. Get one as a pot plant and, when it out­grows its pot, sim­ply plant it in the gar­den as a per­ma­nent Christ­mas tree. Other op­tions you could con­sider in­clude the yel­low­wood fam­ily.)

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