Helpful Hints

Some people (like us!) believe Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a real Christmas tree. Below are some ideas which will help you preserve that perfect tree to last throughout the Christmas season. These steps should help you keep a real Christmas tree fresh through the holiday season.

  • Once you’ve chosen your tree, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it from the wind and sun until you are ready to decorate it.


  • Refresh the tree by making a straight cut, taking one inch off the butt and immediately place in water. This will improve water uptake.  Cutting a refresh cookie off the tree base is important only when trees have been cut for over 4 hours.


  • Place the tree in a stand that can hold at least 1 gallon of water. You should always expect the tree to take up additional water. Water the new tree until water uptake stops.  A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and the boughs from drooping. Water also keeps the tree fragrant.


  • Always keep the base of a tree in water. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if the water drops below the base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled.  If a seal does form, another fresh cut will need to be made.  Drying out deters any future water uptake.


  • You don’t need to give the tree anything other than regular tap water.  Commercially prepared mixes or things like aspirin, sugar and other additives introduced into the water are not necessary.  Forestry research has shown that plain water will keep a tree fresh.


  • In addition, keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets.  Trees or wreaths put inside where they will be in direct sunlight will dry out very quickly and will start to lose needles.


  • Check for worn Christmas tree light electrical cords and always unplug them at night. Use UL approved electrical decorations and cords. Using miniature lights produce less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree or any chance of fire. Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they’re in good working order. You don’t want to use cords with cracked insulation or broken or empty sockets. Also be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Never overload electrical circuits.


  • Take down the tree before it dries out. Many fresh cut trees if properly cared for (using the first five steps) should last at least five weeks before drying out. Some species keep their moisture longer than others.

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