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Get your tree wrapped

The first step to successfully transporting your tree, is to have it wrapped — and no, we don’t mean like a present. Seek help from one of the friendly staff at the lot where you purchased your tree and inquire about a tree wrap. The process is quick and easy, and most often free of charge. Your tree will be placed on a small vibrating disk to help shake any loose needles from the branches, and then will be placed through a device and wrapped in a simple wide netting to keep the branches secure against the trunk of the tree. Just like that, your tree is now clean and compact and ready for its adventure home.

Properly position your tree

Aerodynamics play a big part in keeping your tree in prime condition when travelling at speeds that quite frankly are not intended for a tree. You’ll want to position your tree on the roof of your car so that the wind travels through the tree in the direction of its branches — in other words, you’ll want the trunks to be opposite each other. By this we mean put the trunk of the tree nearest to your windshield, and the top of the tree nearest the trunk of your car. Makes sense, right?

Know your ropes and straps

Ropes, straps, buckles, knots — everyone has a personal preference. It's recommended to avoiding bungee ropes or anything with too much elasticity or give — as these can overly flex in the wind at driving speeds causing items to move in place. A thick rope or twine will do, and if this is your preference it's recommended to select a non-slip option (avoid nylon or anything with a sleek finish). You’ll want to freshen up your knowledge of a good overhand loop knot or slip knot in order to properly secure the tree to your car.

If you’re going for the absolute safest route (always our recommendation), best practice is to use ratchet straps with a buckle — precisely three — one for the trunk, one for the middle of the tree, and one for the top.

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Pick your anchor spots

Now that you have your ropes and straps in tow, take a few moments to assess the roof of your car and identify some key anchor spots near the tree trunk, middle, and top. Your roof rack is usually pretty perfectly placed for this task — but for those without a roof rack you’ll find just as much success by opening your car doors and running the straps through your vehicle. Once you have the anchor spots, follow the below steps to properly secure your tree to your car:

  1. Start at the trunk of the tree and wrap your strap around the trunk securely. This is a very important step to prevent your tree from becoming a projectile in the event of a sudden stop.
  2. Next, wrap the remainder of the strap around your car anchor points and tightly secure the tree.
  3. Wrap the end of the strap around the buckle several times to place fabric between the metal buckle and the roof of your car. This will prevent any scratches or damage during transit.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 in the middle of the tree and near the top of the tree. 

Like Santa’s list, check your tree twice

Now that you’ve securely tied your tree to the car, do the tug test. Attempt to move your tree in both a horizontal and vertical direction and see where there is any give. Use these insights to adjust your straps, if necessary.

There you go! Your tree is all set for a safe and successful journey to its new home. Do you have a tried and true way to transport your tree? Tweet us your safety tips @OnliaCA #OnliaCA.

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