Christmas trees are a long time symbol of the Christmas season, but improperly cared for Christmas trees are unlikely to make it through the entire holiday season. Properly cared for fresh cut Christmas trees, on the other hand, can last several weeks.
First and foremost, the key to long-lasting Christmas trees is to give them plenty of water. Many people have developed outlandish concoctions for Christmas trees, ranging from mixing things such as bleach, sugar, syrup, 7-up or vodka in the water. Research has shown, however, that plain water is the best bet for caring for Christmas trees. Furthermore, the water doesn’t have to be distilled or bottled or fancy in any way. Tap water is just fine.
To further ensure the longevity of Christmas trees, it is helpful to make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk. This cut should be straight and made about an inch from the end of the trunk and the tree should be placed in water quickly. This cut helps Christmas trees better absorb water from within the tree stand.
If the tree is not to be put up right away, it is still a good idea to cut the trunk of the tree and place it in a bucket of water. The tree should then be stored in a shady, protected area that is unheated. When the time comes to set the tree up, the end of the tree should be cut once again to further aid in water absorption.
The type of tree stand used with Christmas trees is also important in their ability to last. For most Christmas trees, the water reservoir should hold at least ½ gallon of water, but the more water the better. Keep in mind that freshly cut Christmas trees will absorb up to one full gallon of water, or even more, in the first 24 hours after a new cut is made. They will continue to absorb one or more quarts each day, depending on the room temperature and the amount of lights and other decorations on the tree.
Recognizing Christmas Trees that are drying out:
One of the surest signs that Christmas trees are beginning to dry out is water absorption. For a tree that is drying out, water use substantially slows down or stops altogether. The needles of Christmas trees that are not watered regularly will dry and fall off as the tree dries. In addition, the boughs will droop and the tree will lose its fragrance. Trees kept near TV’s, fireplaces, air ducts, and radiators have a tendency to dry more quickly.
It is also important to keep Christmas trees watered because a dried sap seal will form over the end of them within four to 6 hours after the water drops below the base of the tree. This makes it impossible for the trees to absorb water, even after the reservoir is refilled. This problem can be remedied by cutting the bottom of the tree once again, but this is difficult to do with a tree that has already been decorated.