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A Guide to Caring for Your Christmas Tree

Dec 14, 2016

So, you and the whole family have already braved the cold weather, picked out the perfect Christmas tree, strapped it to the top of the car, and hauled it into the living room. Once you’ve decorated every inch of its branches with tinsel, ornaments, and flickering lights, what else is there to do besides sit back with a mug of hot cocoa and admire your artistry?

Well, it turns out there’s a bit more to keeping your tree healthy and beautiful throughout the season. Without proper care, the needles dry out and begin to fall off -- and beyond the unsightly mess that ensues, a dehydrated tree can present a fire hazard. Below are a few tips to help you extend your Christmas tree’s life this year.

1. Start with a freshly cut tree.

If you haven't yet picked out your tree, it’s best to shop for fresh-cut options. A tree that has been left to sit and dry out for days or weeks won’t stay fresh nearly as long as one that has been recently cut.

2. Open the pores by trimming the bottom of the tree.

This step may not be necessary if your tree is freshly cut, but If there has been a significant delay between the time it was cut and the time you’re bringing it home, trimming the very bottom of the trunk will open the pores so water can soak in more easily and hydrate any thirsty tree.

3. Water, water, water!

This can't be overstated. A Christmas tree can use a gallon of water per day. Keep the reservoir in the tree stand filled right up to the brim as often as possible to make sure yours remains hydrated, healthy, and vibrant.

4. Consider planting your tree indoors.

While entirely optional, re-planting your tree in soil – even without roots – can help it survive and look stunning longer. When watering each day, keep the soil hydrated enough that it remains slightly damp to the touch.

5. Keep the tree in a cold part of your home.

For example, set it near the windows looking out on your front yard, not near the heat ducts of your forced air heating system. Hot air dries out the tree, while cooler air preserves it.

6. Use lukewarm water.

While warm air isn't good for the tree, warm water can help to open up the bottom pores so your tree can drink the water more easily. It shouldn’t be too hot, and cold water will work just fine, but a lukewarm or room temperature pitcher of water is the very best.

7. Never trim away the outer bark.

Some people do this when the tree doesn't quite fit in the stand. However, that bark protects the tree. The edges also absorb the most water. Trimming the outer layers away can be detrimental to the tree’s health. Instead, try measuring the stand beforehand and search for a tree that fits those specifications.

8. Use low-heat Christmas lights.

Many newer LED lights give off very little heat. Not only does this help keep the bulbs cool to the touch, increasing safety in the home, but it also keeps the heat from traditional lights from drying out the tree.

Refer to these tips as a guidepoint and your Christmas tree is bound to remain a stunning, festive fixture in your home all season long. There are few traditions as iconic as choosing and decorating a Christmas tree, and keeping your tree beautiful for the holidays will make your home that much more inviting and warm.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!