Caring for Your Christmas Tree

Caring for Your Christmas Tree

Keep that tree looking and smelling fresh for family, guests, and Santa’s visit!

No need to groan about one more thing on a long to-do-list, just write down these 2 important tips for tree care:

  1. Fill the tree stand with water every day.
  2. Keep it cool.

Why Water is #1

High moisture levels reduce needle loss and keep the tree fresh. Your tree’s absorption rate varies day-to-day, so keep the reservoir full daily. For most Christmas trees, the stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water. A cut tree will absorb a surprising amount of water.

Don’t bother:

  • Adding water-holding gels to the stand.
    It’s not beneficial and they can reduce the amount of water in the stand that is available to the tree.
  • Using additives in the water.
    Things like floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, and other concoctions. Clean water is all that is needed to maintain freshness.
  • Drilling a hole in the base or sides of the trunk.
    It does not improve water uptake.
  • Applying anti-transpirants or flame retardants to the foliage surface.
    These products are marketed as a way to block evaporation from the foliage surface, but in reality they have little effect on a cut tree displayed indoors. Displaying trees in water with proper care is much more effective in reducing fire hazards.

Why Cool is #2

Heat dries out trees. The lower the heat, the less the drying effect, and the longer the needles will stay on. Display your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, heat vents, heaters, or even direct sunlight. If possible, use lights that produce low heat such as miniature lights on the tree. Lowering room temperatures can also slow the drying process.

Be sure to monitor your tree for dryness. Run your fingers across the needles to determine if they are dry and brittle. The tree is dry if the needles break or fall off easily A well-cared-for tree should remain fresh for three to four weeks.

* Department of Horticulture, Penn State