How to make a real Christmas tree last longer: Tips for keeping the centerpiece holiday decoration fresh
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The time to start decorating for the holidays has arrived — and for many, that includes putting up a Christmas tree.
Now that Thanksgiving Day has passed, many families may be looking to get into the holiday spirit, and that may entail purchasing and decorating a real Christmas tree.
With proper care, most real trees can last at least five weeks or more. Thanks to a handful of experts, we’ve compiled the best tips to make sure your Christmas tree lasts for the duration of the holidays.
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water, according to experts at the National Christmas Tree Association.
Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way to maintain freshness and minimize needle loss.
Use a stand with adequate water-holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. There are even devices available, like this one on Amazon for $25, that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
The stand should also fit your tree, so you should avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient for taking up water, and shouldn’t be removed, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
Trim the trunk
You should make a fresh cut to remove about ½-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand.
Don’t cut the tree at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree, the experts at the National Christmas Tree Association say.
It’s also important to note that drilling a hole in the base of the trunk doesn’t improve water uptake.
Make sure you water the tree often
Once you’re home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most tree species can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Just make sure to place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket kept full of water.
The temperature of the water used to fill the stand isn’t important and doesn’t affect water uptake, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
Check the stand daily to make sure the level of water doesn’t go below the base of the tree. In some stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in the water.
And all you need to make sure your tree stays alive is water.
According to experts at Michigan State University, the most common questions about Christmas trees relate to using additives in the stand to extend freshness, or other home remedies like sugar, aspirin, bleach, lemon-lime soda and vodka.
But your best bet to maintain freshness is plain tap water, according to experts. And some of the home remedies, like bleach and aspirin, can cause heavy needle loss and should be avoided.
Keep the tree away from heat sources
Keep trees away from major sources of heat, like fireplaces, heat vents and direct sunlight. Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day, according to the association.
Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree, and if worn, replace with a new set. And make sure to always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
Continue to monitor your tree for freshness. After Christmas — or before, if the tree is very dry — remove it from your home.
Properly recycle your tree. You should never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The time to start decorating for the holidays has arrived — and for many, that includes putting up a Christmas tree. Now that Thanksgiving Day has passed, many families may be looking to get into the holiday spirit, and that may entail purchasing and decorating a real Christmas tree. With proper…