Water your Christmas tree

Want to make your indoor Christmas tree hold onto its needles as long as possible? Water is the key. Water your Christmas tree as soon as you get it home, when you place it in a stand, and daily thereafter.

Christmas tree lot at Staehly Tree Farm, East Haddam, CT.

Christmas tree lot at Staehly Tree Farm inEast Haddam, CT.

Here’s how to care for and water your Christmas tree to make it last through the holidays:

  • Whether cut fresh or purchased pre-cut, trees need water daily – as much as a quart for every inch of trunk diameter. Do the math: a tree with a 3″ diameter trunk can drink up 3 quarts of water daily; one 4″ needs 4 quarts, and so forth.
  • Fresh cut trees should be placed in a bucket of water as soon as they come home. Pre-cut trees need an additional step – cutting about 1″ from the trunk parallel to the ground when upright – to allow the tree to take up water.
  • Avoid bruising the cut end and keep it completely submerged in water until ready to bring indoors.
  • Prior to bringing indoors, cut the trunk end again. Secure the tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least a gallon of water.
  • Once secured in the stand, fill the reservoir with water.
  • Check water levels daily, making sure the cut end is always submerged in water. I water our tree every morning while the coffee brews.

Why be so concerned about keeping the cut end submerged? If permitted to dry, the cut end will form a resin seal that prevents further water uptake. No water equals dry needles – a true hassle and serious fire risk.

A well watered tree is more likely to hold its needles through the holidays.

A well-watered tree is more likely to hold its needles through the holidays.

We have used the above methods for decades, with great success. Other tips to lead to a safer, better hydrated Christmas tree include:

  • cutting one fresh if possible,
  • holding off till mid-December to bring the tree indoors,
  • using low-heat producing lights,
  • keeping the tree from heating sources and vents,
  • and taking it down shortly after the holidays.

You can read more tips on how to treat and water your Christmas tree from the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, but these basic steps will help keep your tree fresh.

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