Caring for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree in Five Easy Steps

Christmas tree stock photo_EarlyDec2020blog

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree

How lovely are thy branches

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree

How lovely are thy branches…

To keep your Christmas tree’s branches looking lovely all the way through the holidays, follow these five simple but important tips. 

1. Make a fresh cut before putting the tree in the stand.

Before you set fresh cut flowers in a vase, you recut the stems so they can take up the water. The same principle is true for fresh cut Christmas trees. Before bringing your new tree indoors, recut the trunk about one inch from the bottom. Take care to make the cut very straight to help it stand upright in the stand and ensure that the whole cut bottom will be immersed in the water in the stand.

2. Set up your tree away from heat sources.

You might be tempted to set your real Christmas tree up next to the fireplace to give Santa easy access, but it’s really not a good idea. Live trees can dry out very quickly once cut, so it’s better to set them in a cooler part of your home away from heat sources like heat registers, wood stoves, and appliances you probably don’t even realize are giving off heat like televisions. Also, turn off the lights on the tree when you aren’t in the room and when you go to bed. Never leave tree lights on when you are not home.

3. Choose a large enough stand for your fresh cut tree.

Before you head out to buy a real Christmas tree, put your tree stand in the car so you can test it out and make sure it fits before you bring the tree home. Don’t be tempted to whittle down the sides of the trunk if the stand is too narrow—the outer layers of the trunk are the primary conduits for water uptake. Instead, choose a stand that fits the diameter of the trunk and holds a minimum of one gallon of water.

4. Fill your tree stand with plain warm water immediately.

As soon as you make a fresh cut on the tree trunk, set it up in the stand and fill with plain warm water. Do not add any commercial or homemade preservatives to the water. Some of these products can make the tree dry out even faster. Studies have proven that clear water does the best job at preserving a tree’s freshness.

5. Check the stand daily and refill with fresh water as needed.

You will be amazed how much water the tree takes up in the first few days—as much as two gallons of water a day in the beginning. Be vigilant about keeping the stand filled because if it goes dry, a seal will form over the bottom of the trunk and a new cut will be necessary to revive the tree. A fresh cut is pretty tricky once the tree is filled with lights and ornaments. A dry tree can also become a fire hazard indoors. Well-hydrated trees will keep their fresh evergreen scent longer, too.  

Enjoy your fresh cut Christmas tree!

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