A moist Christmas tree (left) will not burn when exposed to the same flames that caused a dry tree to catch fire (right).
You keep your real tree fresh the same way the Christmas tree farmer and retailer did. Keep it in the shade and keep it watered. Follow these tips for maintaining tree freshness.
- Cut off at least ½-inch off the trunk of the tree. That is so the tree will take up water easier.
- If you need to store the tree before setting it up in the home, put it in the shade in a bucket of water.
- Have problems with allergies? You might consider washing the tree outside with a garden hose. This will remove any pollen or dust, and will also knock off any dead needles. Allow the tree to dry off completely before bringing it into the home.
- Display the tree in a tree stand that can hold at least a gallon of water. Make sure you check the water level every day to be sure there is enough and that the tree is using water. Dry trees can take a day or two before taking up water. Also trees that were very cold may take some time to take up water again.
- Never add anything to the water. All your real tree needs is fresh water.
- Display the tree away from heat sources. Use lights that are in good working condition that are UL certified. Unplug the lights when you leave the house or go to sleep at night.
- The tree isn't taking up water? If the tree isn't decorated, you can put another fresh cut on the stump. If it is, you may be able to create a kind of fresh cut by drilling holes in the trunk below the water line. Some people have gotten their tree to take up additional water by using very hot water, but this testimonial information has not been tested by research methods.
The above listed recommendations were developed for the typical Christmas tree harvested during a normal season. A small percentage of trees may not perform as expected every year. This can result from combinations of factors including the weather during harvest, an individual tree's genetic predisposition to needle loss, or damage from pests. If you have taken all appropriate steps to care for your tree and you experience abnormal water uptake, needle loss, or drying, contact your local Agricultural Extension Agent.