Having a fresh Christmas tree at home can be a nice addition to Christmas, but it can quickly dry out and drop its needles. Want to learn how to make it last for longer and throughout December? Read on.
The Christmas tradition of having a decorated tree in the home dates back to the 16th century. The smell of fir trees and using lights can brighten the room and add to the Christmas spirit. A freshly cut Christmas tree will usually last four to five weeks if you take good care of it. Read on to find out our top 10 tips on how to make your Christmas tree last longer.
1. Buy a Local Tree
If you can, avoid trees that have been imported from out of state or from far away. Look for a local tree farm — this means the trees have been more recently cut and have not been exposed to a long drive, for example, and will absorb more water than a Christmas tree that traveled farther, causing it to last longer.
2. Check the Branches Before you Take it Home
The tree should be flexible and soft, so feel the branches and check the color — it should be deep green and feel soft to the touch. A more brittle tree that is dropping needles has already begun to dry out and will not last long at home.
3. Ask for a Trim before Taking it Home
When you’ve found the tree you like for your home, make sure to ask for a fresh trim of the base of the tree before taking it home. A fresh cut off the base assists the water absorption that is key to a fresh Christmas tree.
4. Water Your Christmas Tree ASAP
Once you get the Christmas tree home, immediately place it in a bucket of water. Especially if the tree has been freshly trimmed, it will be very thirsty. A tree generally needs one quart of water per inch of stem diameter, and the first day can absorb as much as a gallon.
5. Slowly Adjust the Tree’s Temperature
If you have an unheated garage or shed, place your Christmas tree in a bucket of water before bringing it inside the house. The temperature changes can affect the tree’s branches and will dry the tree out faster if you take it inside a heated home right away.
6. Use a Proper Base for Your Tree
Try to avoid cutting off the outside bark of your Christmas tree to fit it in a too-small base, as the bark helps the tree to absorb water and maintain its freshness. A properly sized base will not need another cut or additional trims.
7. Check the Water Levels Every Day
Your Christmas tree needs a lot of water, especially in the beginning after it’s been trimmed. Check that the tree has water every day and add more when its levels get too low. Some Christmas tree bases have a water indicator that shows when the tree water is too low.
8. Keep Heat Sources Away from Your Tree
If you’re able, do not place your Christmas tree directly next to or near a heating source like a radiator or even direct sunlight. If the tree is near heat, it will dry out the branches quickly and the tree will need even more water than usual.
9. Turn Off the Lights
Christmas tree lights can become warm and can start to dry out the tree (or start a fire if left on too long!) so remember to turn them off from time to time or use LED lights that emit less heat. Not only will this protect your home from a possible fire hazard, but it will help the tree last longer and delay the drying-out process. Don’t forget to recycle the Christmas lights that you’re not using.
10. Give Your Tree a Second Life
At the end of the season, instead of tossing the tree, dispose of your Christmas tree properly: consider recycling programs or use the tree in your compost pile. Cut off smaller branches to add organic brown matter to your compost or run the tree through a chipper and use it as mulch for your garden. You can also use the long branches around your garden as a mulch mat. Or get creative and use some of the small branches to make tags for gifts, coasters, or placemats. Here are other ways to utilize pine needles around your home.
- Real vs Fake Christmas Tree: Which One is More Sustainable
- Minimalist Christmas Tips: Enjoy a Sustainable and Stress-Free
- How to Make a Paper Christmas Star: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide
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