It’s the time of year when Christmas tree lots start appearing around your community, bringing with them a difficult decision–will bringing home your evergreen so early in the season mean having a Charlie Brown-style tree come Christmas Day? Luckily, with these few tips, you should be able to preserve your fresh pine from early December into the new year.
Pick the Right Tree
First off, pick the right tree. Before leaving the lot, give your choice a good shake and watch the type of needles that fall. Only a few needles should come off if the tree is fresh. While the loss of some brown needles is normal, fallen green needles are usually an indication the tree has gotten dry.
Get A Fresh Cut
Just before setting up the tree, it’s important to trim a little of the bottom. Make a fresh, straight cut, removing an inch or an inch and a half of wood from the base of the trunk. Without the cut the tree will dry out from not being able to absorb water properly.
Once you’re home, get the tree in water as soon as possible. If you aren't ready to decorate just yet, place the tree in a full bucket of water. For the first 24 hours, a tree can absorb as much as a gallon of water or more, so refill the water as needed.
Invest in A Quality Tree Stand
The goal is to find a tree stand that fits the tree properly and can also hold at least a gallon of water. For maintenance, check the stand regularly to make sure that the water level does not drop below the base of the tree.
Replenish Water Daily
The key to keeping your tree fresh is replenishing the water daily. Watering helps preserve the tree’s fragrance and also prevents the needles from drying and falling off. The bottom two inches of the trunk should always submerged in water.
Place in Cool Area
Make sure to place the tree in a cooler area of the house, away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and heaters, and preferably away from the sun (or just keep the blind drawn). As long as your tree stays moist, it should last several weeks, maybe even until New Years.
Using low heat decorative lights will help slow the drying of the tree. Newer LED holiday lights are inexpensive and will decrease the risk of a fire because they stay cool. If you opt to reuse lights, always inspect them prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.