Gardening Q&A: How do I keep my Christmas tree fresh?

Article Posted By: Home Depot Staff

A Home Depot associate helps a customer choose a real Christmas tree

Q: How do I help my Christmas tree last through the holiday season?

A: Home Depot associates get that question a lot around Christmastime. The important thing is to keep your real Christmas tree from drying out. That means, first of all, securing it in a stand with a basin, and watering the tree until it stops absorbing what you give it. A good rule of thumb is to look for a basin that can hold at least 1 quart of water for every inch of the trunk’s diameter.

On the first day in particular, your tree is likely to need a great deal of water, so keep an eye on the basin and refill as needed. After that, check the basin at least once a day and add fresh water any time the water level looks low.

When the base of a fresh-cut Christmas tree does dry out, the tree protects the end by forming a layer of resin over the cut. If you’re buying a pre-cut tree, you’ll want to refresh the cut before you settle your tree in for the holidays. Saw about an inch off of the bottom just before you lock the tree into the stand, and pour in water as soon as possible. That will allow your real Christmas tree to draw in water more easily. It’s also an opportunity to make the cut level if needed.

As in real estate, location matters when you’re trying to keep your Christmas tree fresh. If possible, avoid placing your tree near fireplaces or vents. Exposure to those heat sources may dry out your Christmas tree, even despite your efforts to keep it watered. You can even set up a humidifier if the air in the room tends toward the dry end of the spectrum.

If you have pets (or very odd children) you’ll also want to ensure that they’re not drinking the water on the sly. In addition to protecting your floor, decorative Christmas tree skirts that cover the base of the stand can help keep thirsty animals out. Placing a plastic of vinyl sheet between the stand and the floor will help prevent water damage in case of accidental spillage.

With proper care, your tree can last the entire month before it dries out. When the inevitable happens, though, don’t stand on ceremony. A dried-out tree is a fire hazard, and should be removed from your home.

Are you thinking about getting a live Christmas tree this year and planting it after the holidays? We have all you need to know about caring for a live Christmas tree.

For more helpful advice and answers, or to ask your own question, log into the Garden Club Forum. Your question might be featured in a future Gardening Q&A. And be sure to sign up for the Home Depot Garden Club. You’ll get coupons, sneak peeks at local ads, and access to our terrific projects, how-tos, and garden checklists.

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