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Elliptical Christmas Tree

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The traditional live Christmas tree is a joy, bringing its wonderful scent into the house and providing a visual feast of lights and colors.

It also brings needles, God only knows what kind of bugs, nasty scratches on the back of your neck when you stoop down to water it...you get the idea.

A nice artificial tree is easy to find - even some of the better ones at big-box stores will fool you. And if you aren't concerned with being fooled, well, that just opens the doors.

What I always shopped for in a live Christmas tree was one that was a bit misshapen, maybe even seriously so. It was always one of the cheaper trees and that was one advantage, but it also permitted me to tuck the tree more closely against the wall or even far back into a corner. This was a huge improvement over the old I-Command-The-Living-Room sort of tree the Norman Rockwell image of Christmas wants you to pine for.

Ouch. Sorry about the pun.

But if you want an artificial tree that tucks into a corner or hugs the wall, you're more or less out of luck.

I found a couple of "flat-backed" trees that nestle right up against the wall, and that's not bad. But an elliptical tree that had branches all the way around could be proudly displayed in the window, decorated and lit on both sides and not look too odd. It can be broad and tall the way so many folks like their trees, without projecting too far into the room, which a lot of folks (like me) who live in smaller houses are concerned about, not being able to give up precious floor space for a gigantic decoration.

And just for the heck of it, since I didn't find any corner trees, I thought a 1/4 tree would be a fine design for tucking into a handy corner: Christmas spirit, practically wrought.

elhigh, Dec 03 2007

What's a better name than a Quarter of a tree? best_20thing_20since_20sliced_20bread
Po gem [xenzag, Dec 03 2007]


       Are we talking about a tree which is eliptical in the horizontal or the vertical plane ?
8th of 7, Dec 03 2007

       [8th of 7] is back! Yee-haw! Don't turn on those Christmas tree lights until you've checked for any detonator-like or other suspicious decorations!
lurch, Dec 03 2007

       You wound us to our very core with such vile, base and caluminous allegations ..... but it is a good idea none the less.
8th of 7, Dec 03 2007

       happy xmas, elhigh.
po, Dec 03 2007

       so is this an idea for an artificial tree or a natural tree shaped eliptically?   

       If it is the latter, one can trim branches to this shape. I might even try that meself.
dentworth, Dec 03 2007

       Many artificial trees require assembly by placing the "branches" in the "trunk". Just leave the branches off the back. We (my family) do this already.
phoenix, Dec 03 2007

       This idea is about trees alright, but quite elliptical about their ellipticity.
placid_turmoil, Dec 03 2007

       The tree is elliptical in the horizontal plane - looking straight down on top of it shows an elliptical plan view.   

       I knew somebody would gig me on that.   

       Thank you [po], and a Happy Christmas to you as well.   

       [phoenix], when I leave too many branches off, I wind up with open spaces on the back that are visible from the viewed side of the tree, and a one-sided tree. The idea is to have a tree that doesn't lack branches and can be displayed in such a way as to be visible from both sides.   

       I have in the past left a few of the longest low branches off the back of my trees, but that requires careful camouflage afterward to maintain the appearance of the tree - sometimes artful draping of the tree skirt on top of a couple of dummy boxes.   

       You could Frankenstein together an elliptical tree from several conventional trees, using the shorter, higher branches of the conventional to become the short-axis lower branches of the Elliptical.   

       You absolutely could do this with a natural tree - all it takes is judicious pruning. If I had more than a postage stamp of a yard (push mowing takes 30 minutes), I would devote some space to an experiment.
elhigh, Dec 04 2007

       Why not just buy a normal tree and split it in two down the middle of the trunk and give one half to someone else and share the cost with them?
hippo, Dec 04 2007

       [hippo] - you must be a chainsaw master <bows humbly> to so blithely suggest splitting the tree down the middle.   

       With a freshly sharpened chain, I could do it, but that still leaves me with a one-sided tree. I want a two-sided Space Saver tree.
elhigh, Dec 04 2007

       phoenix (& elhigh) you could try using zap straps (aka wire ties, cable ties, zip ties) to fasten the unused branches of your artificial trees to the trunk on its front side to help hide the gaps. You can get them in green so they wouldn't stand out.   

       Or, to get that desired elliptical shape, change the assembly order of your branches. Place branches that are longer than they should be in higher rows on the left & right while using shorter ones on the front & back. (In other words, if your rows of branches are lettered, row 1 at the top would be all A, rows 2 and 3 would be B front & back and C left & right, then rows 4 and 5 become D front & back and E left & right, and so on.) If it looks OK remember to write down what sequence you used for future Xmases.
Canuck, Dec 04 2007

       The mental picture of a forest/plantation in the fractal shapes required, garners a bun.
4whom, Dec 04 2007

       How about a tree press ? If you had two sheets of rigid material - for example, steel or glass sheet - and then placed the tree between them, you could inject steam to soften the branches and make them pliable. Spray the tree with the arboreal equivalent of hair gel, then slowly move the two plates close together. Allow to cool, and remove the plates. Hey presto ! The tree has been morphed in to a thinned down space saver tree, but with the advantage that, since no pruning is involved, it still has all its foliage.   

       Question: Foliage drived from the latin "folio" meaning leaf. Conferous trees don noy have leaves as such, but needles. Thus, can a conifer be said to have true "foliage" ?
8th of 7, Dec 04 2007

       But then you miss out on all the menger/mandelbrot forests.
4whom, Dec 04 2007

       But at least the tree still retains its infinite perimiter, unlike the n (n-1) state of the pruned tree ...
8th of 7, Dec 04 2007

       [Canuck] - your version just gives me an ellipsoid! It would be the same width from top to bottom.   

       Ha, I might just do that.
elhigh, Dec 04 2007

       Thinks: "Can this not be better achieved by merely rotating the 4-dimensional tree in 7-dimensional space ? Apply a LaPlace transform ..."
8th of 7, Dec 04 2007

       //God only knows what kind of bugs, //   

       We found a lizard on the tree we bought this year. We're the type to keep those sort of pets (we've got about 10 reptiles in the house) so we took him home to get him out of the cold. The trees were delivered that morning form florida, and the little guy didn't seem too happy about the 40º weather. We'll likely release him next trip to Fl.
bleh, Dec 05 2007

       OK, find yourself a good pair of wire cutters and prune the branches for the front and back to the desired length (make sure you do it at the end that goes into the trunk so you don't lose the fullness on the tip). Of course you'll have to trim off the unnecessary needles and bend the cut end downwards to match the original angle.
Canuck, Dec 05 2007

       //Summary summary summary// Wintery wintery wintery, Shirley.
marklar, Dec 05 2007

       Shirley shirley shirley, fer sure.
elhigh, Dec 05 2007


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