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How To Keep A Christmas Tree Green and Fresh

An essential step to keeping a Christmas supple and fresh is to put it in water. But this will do no good unless you cut a small amount off the bottom of the trunk immediately before putting it in water. This and other steps will help your tree to stay fresh for weeks through the holidays. Read on for more ideas to preserve your Christmas tree for as long as possible.

Whether you cut down a tree fresh or buy one from a lot, it will continue drink water for weeks. But it can do this only if the bottom of has not healed over with a protective layer of sap. Even if a fresh cut is made when you purchase your tree, by the time you get home, it may have already partially or completely sealed itself up. For the longest lifespan for a cut tree, you must ensure it gets water, just like cut flowers in a vase. To guarantee the tree can drink, you should cut 1/2" to 1" from the bottom of the trunk immediately before putting it into its tree stand.

Should I Put a Christmas Tree in Water?

A Christmas tree will drink more water during the first few days, so it is very important to check it 2-3 times a day and keep the reservoir filled with water. If the water level drops below the bottom of the trunk, it will begin to heal over and prevent it from taking up water. A tree may drink a gallon of water, or more, every day.

Keeping your tree's needles soft and on the tree for up to six weeks is possible with proper preparation. But, without water a tree will dry out, shed needles and become a fire hazard. For the best looking and safest tree, it should be mounted in a base with a water reservoir. Choose a base that has a large reservoir or even a second reservoir on the side. An auxiliary reservoir makes adding water easier.

How To Trim a Christmas Tree for a Tree Stand

As mentioned above, remove about 1/2" off the bottom of the tree's trunk to reveal fresh wood. Do this immediately prior to placing it in the stand, to minimize the risk of the trunk healing over with sap. Trim off branches from about the bottom 6" of the tree. You may wish or need to trim off more. If you aren't able to recut the tree trunk when you get it home, then at least have someone at the tree lot cut it for you and then bring the tree straight home.

Once your tree is set up in its base, fill the reservoir with water. It may take a day or so before your tree drinks any water, but then once it does start drinking, refill it frequently. Do not let the reservoir get below the bottom of the tree or the trunk will start to seal over and the tree will not be able to take up water.

What Should I Add to the Christmas Tree Water?

There are many common practices of adding something to the water in a Christmas tree stand to help keep the tree alive longer. Anything that will keep the needles green and on the tree is worth a shot, right? Adding Aspirin, sugar, 7-Up or bleach are common additives used by many to preserve the tree. These myths are so commonly held that the Mythbusters team tested them in their 2006 TV season. To see the results of their experiments on Christmas tree preservation watch the Mythbusters 2006 Christmas Special. *Spoiler Alert: Water is all you need, nothing else. In fact some things can shorten the time your tree remains fresh. So don't bother with fertilizer, 7-up, glycerin or anything else; just give your Christmas tree plenty of water.

More Ways to Keep a Christmas Tree Fresh

Warm temperatures will dry out a tree more quickly. Keep them away from heating vents and radiators and of course, fireplaces.

A Christmas tree will benefit from sunlight, so keeping it near a window can be helpful. Light from Christmas tree lights will even help a little bit, especially white or clear bulbs. LED light strings are best because they generate less heat and they output a broad range usable light.

Keep Your Tree Standing

One of the frustrating problems that comes along with an Xmas tree stand is its tendency to tip over. Made all the worse when it is full of water. So here are a few tips to help keep your tree upright and avoid having your Christmas tree fall over.

Hang your tree from the ceiling. Okay, it's not as weird as it sounds. You don't really hang the tree, instead by putting a hook or eyelet in the ceiling, you can use a strand or two of high strength fishing line to provide the small amount of extra support to keep the tree upright. It doesn't to support the weight of the tree, it just supports it enough to keep it from leaning. If you do this, be sure to screw the hook onto a ceiling joist, or use a molly bolt to provide enough strength to hold it in place. Alternatively, you can use two strings mounted from two locations in the walls to help keep the tree standing straight.

Another good solution it to fasten the base to the ground. Because you probably don't want to drive screws into your floor, screw the base onto a large piece of plywood. The plywood base may be big enough to provide and the needed support, or you can add some weights on top of the plywood to keep it in place.

Happy Holidays!

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