We’ve talked about the importance of picking the right type of Christmas tree for your family but do you know what steps you need to take to keep your tree healthy while in your home? Keeping a real tree fresh during the holiday season requires a combination of a good setup and persistent care. Read on to learn what you can do to keep your Christmas tree healthy all the way to the new year!
1. Keep It Hydrated
Your Christmas tree stand should always have water in it. Not giving the tree enough water is one of the biggest issues people run into when taking care of their Christmas trees. When Christmas trees lack the water they need they begin to dry out. This means brown and yellow needles that eventually start falling off of the tree. Keeping your tree hydrated will help it keep its color and reduce needle drop. It’s common for trees to take in a large amount of water one day and very little the next so it’s important to check your tree’s water at least twice a day and keep it topped off.
If you let your tree stand run out of water at any time you run the risk of the tree sealing its base with sap. This drastically reduces the tree’s ability to absorb water. Meaning even if you add water back into the tree stand the tree may not be able to absorb enough water to keep it alive.
2. Select The Correct Tree Stand
Selecting the correct tree stand is important because not only does it keep the tree stable, it can help you keep the tree properly hydrated. The National Christmas Tree Association suggests finding a tree stand that has a built-in reservoir that can hold at least a gallon of water. A good rule of thumb is that a Christmas tree stand should have room for one quart of water for every inch of the trunk’s diameter. So if your Christmas tree’s trunk measures 4 inches in diameter you would need a stand that holds one gallon of water. If it measures 6 inches in diameter you would need a stand that holds one and a half gallons of water.
It’s also important to select a tree stand that fits the diameter of your tree. You should avoid whittling down the sides of the tree trunk down to fit a stand. The tree’s outer layers of wood are the best at absorbing water so whittling a tree trunk down to fit too small of a stand can create water absorption problems.
3. Keep It Away From Heat
Placing a Christmas tree near a fireplace or heat vent is not only a fire hazard but it can also affect the health of the tree. Heat will cause the tree to lose more water through the pores in its needles which will cause it to dry out quicker. Placing a Christmas tree near heat or even a sunny window will result in it drying out, needles yellowing/browning, needle drop, and the tree dying faster than usual.
Using older Christmas lights on your tree can also create this effect. Since older and bulky Christmas lights give off a lot of heat they themselves can dry out the tree. Our Arborists suggest purchasing LED Christmas lights instead since they produce less heat.
4. Trim The Trunk
Before bringing your tree home or before placing it in its tree stand, make sure to make a fresh cut straight across the base of the tree trunk. Doing this will get rid of any dried resin that is blocking the tree from absorbing water. This step is extremely important for trees you purchase from Christmas tree lots and home improvement stores that have been precut and sitting around for a while. A lot of these retailers will make this cut for you as they bundle up your tree but it’s best to always double check it’s been done. If you went to a Christmas tree farm, cut your own tree, and brought it home immediately (under 3 hours from it being cut) you can skip this step and put the tree directly in water.
5. Use A Humidifier
The ideal humidity for a Christmas tree is around 40 percent. If the room your Christmas tree is in lacks enough humidity it can cause the tree to lose more moisture through the pores in the tree’s needles. This will dry out the tree leading to yellowing/browning needles, needle drop, and premature death of the tree. You can use a digital hygrometer to check your room’s humidity. If it’s lower than 40 percent our Arborists suggest using a humidifier to increase the room’s humidity. Having the proper humidity will keep the tree healthy longer.
Now that you know what steps to take you can keep your tree healthy and beautiful all season long.