Caring For Your Tree
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half of its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree throughout the Christmas season. Below are a number of tips for caring for your trees:
- The most effective way to maintain a tree's freshness, while minimizing the loss of needles, is to display the tree in a traditional "reservoir" type stand.
- Before putting the tree in the stand, make a fresh cut to remove roughly 1/2-inch of wood from the base of the trunk. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem -- don't cut the trunk at an angle or in a v-shape; this makes it more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
- Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most trees can only go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk without water at which point they will not take in water - critical for freshness. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If necessary, trees can be temporarily kept in a cool location by placing the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water.
- To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an enough water capacity for the tree. General rule: stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
- Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
- Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
- The temperature of the water used in the stand is not important.
- Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.
- Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
- Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
- Recycling: Go to www.realchristmastrees.org and type in your ZIP code to find a recycling program near you.
- Safety: 1) Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed; 2) Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.