With all the effort that goes into putting up a Christmas tree every year, the last thing you want is for that tree to start drying out, dropping needles, and looking rough around the edges. And with more and more people choosing to put their trees up earlier in the season, you want to make sure your Christmas tree lasts as long as possible. Maintaining a healthy tree is essential for making sure all of those ornaments, lights, and trim look great all season long, and it's easier than you think.
1. Cut Your Own Tree
The best way to get a long-lasting tree? Cut it down yourself! Cutting your own tree means you'll know how fresh it is and exactly how long ago it was cut down, and you won't have to worry about whether it had been sitting in a parking lot under the sun for days or even weeks.
2. Pick a Healthy Tree
This may seem obvious, but always pay attention to the color of your tree. Try to avoid choosing a tree that has any brown needles, as this could be a sign that your tree is already dying. And be careful: a green tree doesn't always mean it's healthy. Touch the tree's branches, and see if any needles fall off. If they do, this means it's already dry, and you may want to consider a different tree.
3. Choose the Right Species
Choosing the right tree species can go a long way to having a tree that lasts through the holiday season. Frasier firs are a popular choice for their needle retention, but balsam firs, white firs, Scotch pines, and some other varieties are great at retaining their needles for longer as well. Avoid species like white spruce, Norway spruce, and blue spruce if needle retention is your primary concern.
4. Trim the Trunk Once or Twice
Even if you're cutting down your tree yourself, you should try to trim your tree's trunk about one or two inches before you put it in the stand. If you're not putting your tree up right after you cut it down, make sure to keep it standing in a bucket of water in your garage to keep it fresh. When you do go to put it up, trim the bottom of the trunk again to ensure that the capillaries are open and can absorb the water.
5. Keep Away From Heat
The quickest way to ensure your Christmas tree dries up and starts looking prematurely haggard is to put it next to a source of heat. Whether it's a fireplace, radiator, space heater, or window, it's important to keep your tree away from any source of heat in your home. In addition to drying out the tree, it's a potential fire hazard!
6. Get a Good Tree Stand
Never underestimate the power of a great tree stand, because not all of them are created equal. A good tree stand is deep and wide and holds enough water to keep your tree fresh. A shallow tree stand will make your tree dry out much more quickly, especially if you're not filling up the stand on a regular basis.
7. Keep the Water Level High
It's important to keep the water level in your Christmas tree stand high for two reasons: first, your tree will be less likely to run out of water without you noticing, so you won't have to keep filling it up as often; second, if the bottom of the trunk is exposed, it will impact the tree's ability to absorb water. When part of the cut end is exposed, resin will form, preventing it from continuing to take in water. So make sure the bottom of the trunk is completely covered at all times!