Tips for Keeping Your Cut Tree Fresh

By Fran Holmes

Buy your tree early in the season. Why? Christmas trees that are bought from a tree lot are all cut at the same time. The longer your tree sits in the lot, the longer it goes without water and the drier it gets.

Try to select a tree from a lot that has lots of shade and shelter from the wind. Cut trees standing in sun and wind, lose a lot of moisture.

When you select your tree, look for a tree that is a healthy green. Avoid trees that have lots of brown needles or whose needles fall off at the slightest touch.

Shake the tree and see if it loses a large amount of green needles. Bounce the tree on its stump. If lots of green needles fall, it’s not a good choice. Note: It will naturally lose some of the brown needles.

When you bring your tree home, place it a sheltered location where it will not freeze.

Trim the trunk one inch and immediately place it in plain water. Use a sharp saw blade to cut perpendicular to the stem. Cutting the trunk in a v-shape will reduce its ability to drink water and will be hard to balance in the tree stand.

Spray your tree every day thoroughly with water until you bring it in the house. This gives it the opportunity to absorb as much water as possible through its foliage.

Choose a tree stand that will fit the tree and will hold sufficient water for its size. A good rule to go by is one quart of water per diameter inch of the trunk. Example: A four inch diameter tree trunk should have 4 quarts of water. Replenish the water in the reservoir frequently. You will know the tree is taking in water by the water levels in the tree stand.
Do not trim the outer layers of the tree as this will significantly reduce its ability to drink water.

Do not let the water level drop below the cut end of the trunk. This will cause it to start drying out and will cause it to “seal” itself, which will prevent it from being able to drink any more water.

Once the tree is decorated with Christmas lights, be sure to turn the lights off at night. This will reduce the heat being transmitted to the tree and lessen the light’s drying effects on the tree.

Place your tree away from heat sources. Heat sources can include: fireplaces, wood stoves, furnaces, heaters, air ducts, vents and radiators, south-facing windows, candles and televisions.

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