If you celebrate Christmas, having a real tree is one of the best parts of the season. The gorgeous smell of pine fills the air, and your home immediately feels more festive. But real trees come with some pitfalls, too. Year after year, people struggle with making sure their tree is getting the water it needs to stay healthy and last the whole holiday season, while others prefer not to water theirs at all. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point found that Christmas trees need water after they've been cut in order to retain their needles. It also discovered some essential ways to keep your tree hydrated this season.
The Fresher, the Better
The first step to having a long-lasting tree that is able to take in water is to get a really fresh one. Obviously, the best way to do this is to cut down a tree yourself. But for those of us for whom this isn't an option, when you go to pick out your already-cut tree, make sure to inspect it for freshness. Look for a healthy-looking tree, and test the needles to see if they fall off easily. If they do, it's not fresh. Fresher trees are better at retaining water and will last a long time.
Trim the Trunk
Whether you have a tree you've just cut down yourself or one you've picked up from the local grocery store, there's an easy way to make sure your tree is able to drink water. Cut an inch or more off the bottom of the trunk before you place it in the tree stand. This will open up the capillaries, allowing your tree to draw water up the trunk and into the branches and needles.
Water Well Initially
When you've picked out your fresh tree, it's important that you water it well within the first one and a half weeks of cutting it down. Your tree will be better able to absorb the water because it's at its freshest, but over time it will take in less water. Keep your tree stand full of water during this first period to ensure that it gets all the water it can.
Continue to Give It Enough Water
Even after the first week and a half that you have your Christmas tree, it's important to keep it well-watered. Luckily, your tree should be able to tell you when it needs more water. Keep checking the levels of the water in your tree stand and make sure it hits the trunk about two to three inches high. You'll have to check it less frequently the longer you have it, but you should still continue to keep an eye on the water levels.
Look For Fraser Firs
The type of tree you choose actually has a big impact on whether it will stay well-watered and last a long time. Fraser firs are the best kind of Christmas tree for water retention. They also lose fewer needles, so your Christmas tree will stay full and green for longer than other species of evergreens.
Some people swear that adding things to their tree's water helps it to take more water in. But before you start adding popular additives like sugar, aspirin, and vodka to your tree stand, you might want to reconsider. The best way to keep your tree fed is by simply giving it clean water, and you can save the sugar, aspirin, and vodka for human consumption over the holidays!
Keep Your Tree Away From Heat
The best way to get a dehydrated tree is to put it near a heat source. The heat will cause your tree to lose water and can even deplete the water levels in your tree stand before your tree has a chance to drink it. Keep your Christmas tree in a corner that's out of direct sunlight, away from heat registers, and a safe distance from your fireplace.