‘Tis the season for hot beverages, snow, and Christmas trees! There’s nothing better than the smell of a Christmas tree you picked out with your loved ones.
If you’re going the live tree route this holiday season, here are some tips on caring for your tree throughout the next few weeks to get the most out of it!
The key to a long-lasting tree this season is to pick and cut it yourself, but also letting it live outdoors and in the ground as long as possible. Make sure you measure your tree stand beforehand—you don’t want to trim away at the trunk to make it fit; this isn’t good for the tree.
If you can, avoid buying a pre-cut tree. It’ll be worth it. Plus, you’ll be supporting a local farm where another tree will be planted in the place of the one you chose.
If cutting your own tree isn’t an option, you can ask how recently the tree you’re about to buy was cut.
Tip: If the needles are flexible, it’s fresh. If they’re brittle, you might want to move on to another.
Consider choosing your tree well in advance. Most tree farms will tag your tree so that it can live outdoors until you’re ready to cut it and bring it inside. This will keep your tree looking better the closer to Christmas we get!
Once you do cut your tree, handle with care. Protecting it with a tarp or plastic will shield it from wind and any weather on the way home.
If you bought a pre-cut tree, make sure you cut another inch or so off the bottom once you get home. After a tree is cut, sap starts to seal the bottom of it, so all your work watering and caring for it would be hindered. If, by some chance, you’re traveling hours to get a fresh tree, make sure you give it a fresh trim once you get home, too.
Now, it’s time to set it all up! If time allows, some people like storing their tree in a garage for up to two weeks before bringing it indoors. This will help it adjust to an indoor climate slowly. If you do this, be sure to put it in a bucket of water and keep it watered (more on that below).
When you bring your tree inside, display it in an area that is away from direct sunlight, heat, air, and anything that can cause a fire—lights, fireplaces, etc. Using LED lights on your tree will not only save you money in the long run but also decrease fire risks because they run cooler.
Water your tree as soon as you can—do not let the base dry out if you want your needles to look lively and fresh.
Tip: If your base does try out, you can try drilling some holes in the base of your tree to try and help keep it watered.
So, how often should you water your tree? Daily—make sure there is always water in your stand (reservoir-type stands are best) because trees can absorb about a quart of water each day. The bottom of the tree’s trunk should always be submerged.
Make sure the lights you use are working properly before you decorate your tree, and be sure not to overcrowd an electrical circuit. Always unplug your tree lights when you’re leaving your home or going to sleep for the night. A decorated tree is always best enjoyed with people around to see it.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.