Christmas Tree Care: Keep it Pretty, Keep it Safe
Christmas trees symbolize the magic and joy of the holiday season. So it only makes sense to provide your tree with the care that will help to keep it lush, green, and lovely into the New Year. And doing so will bear benefits beyond just the appearance of your tree. Because a well cared for tree will also be less of a fire hazard, and will make less of a mess with shedding pine needles.
You won’t be surprised to learn that water is the key element in Christmas tree care. But did you know that your tree might consume up to 2 gallons of water in a single day? It’s true, and in fact, fully half of the weight of a Christmas tree is water. So making sure that your tree has access to plenty of water is job one in keeping your tree fresh.
Here are some tips for making certain that your tree is getting plenty of water:
- Cut about 1/2 inch off the base before putting the tree in the stand. Do that as soon as you get home with your tree. Just make a straight cut; don’t cut at an angle. And don’t drill holes into the trunk. They don’t help.
- Don’t delay getting your tree in the stand. It needs water – NOW. If you’re not ready to put the tree on display, you can store it in a cool place by making the 1/2-inch cut and standing the tree in a bucket full of water.
- Make sure your tree stand has adequate water capacity for your tree. How do you know? Use this rule of thumb: for each inch of stem diameter your stand should hold at least 1 quart of water.
- Check frequently to see that the water level in the stand is OK. When you’re checking the water level, look closely. Depending upon the stand design, it’s possible for water to be present in the stand but below the bottom of the trunk. Check the water level at least once per day.
And here are some things you DON’T need to worry about:
- Don’t bother about the temperature of the water that you add to the stand. Using water straight out of the tap is fine.
- Don’t give the tree anything other than pure water. Many studies have shown that pure water alone will help the tree achieve its maximum useful life. No additives like fertilizer, corn syrup, sugar, or anything else will extend the life of the tree (though some of these ingredients will make the water in the stand emit an unpleasant odor). And adding green food coloring to the water will not make the needles any greener.
- DON’T shave any wood from the sides of the trunk. The outer layers of the trunk perform most of the job of transporting water through the trunk to the rest of the tree. So if your tree won’t fit into the stand without reducing the trunk diameter, it’s best to get a larger stand.
Is Your Christmas Tree Cool?
Keeping the temperature around your tree as cool as possible will help to extend its life. If possible, position the tree away from hot air vents, radiators, and even TV’s. And of course, don’t place the tree remotely close to a fireplace. Using miniature lights or LED lights for decoration instead of large incandescent bulbs will help in keeping the tree cool.
By lavishing it with the proper care, you can expect your tree to remain fresh and beautiful for well over a month. You can ring in the New Year with a cheery memento of last year’s last holiday still brightening the household. After all, who wants to perform the dreary job of taking a Christmas tree down in the middle of the holiday season?