You don’t need to have a green thumb to keep your Christmas tree alive, but there are a few tricks that may help make it last all season-long. The single most important factor in tree care is watering. When a tree is cut down, more than half it’s weight is water; it’s critical to maintain such a high moisture level if you want to keep the tree looking fresh and healthy for more than just a few days—and there are plenty of tree watering gadgets listed below that will help you stay on-task. We’ve pulled the most useful tips for Christmas tree maintenance from The Old Farmers Almanac and The National Christmas Tree Association. Read on to learn how to care for the lovely Christmas tree that caught your eye this year.
Photo: Lia Griffith; *This post contains affiliate links
- You can’t get a better tree than one that’s been freshly cut from a reputable nursery or chopped down yourself at a tree farm. Many trees for sale were cut days-weeks prior.
- If it’s been more than 12 hours since the tree was cut, the trunk should be recut to improve water intake. If it was cut within 12 hours, recutting is not necessary.
- If recutting, remove a disc of wood from the trunk, about 1/2-inches thick. Don’t cut the base at an angle or into any shape, this makes it more difficult to secure the tree in the stand and reduces the amount of water the tree can absorb.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk will not improve water intake.
- Use a stand that fits the tree’s base. Do not whittle down the sides of the trunk to fit the tree in the stand; the outer wood layers are the most efficient in absorbing water and your tree will last longer with the wood intact.
- Make sure the tree stand has adequate water holding capacity for the tree. Stands should provide one quart of water per each inch of the trunk’s diameter.
- Displaying trees in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way to maintain freshness and minimize needle loss.The Krinner Tree Genie will make Christmas tree set-up a breeze. The sturdy base comes in a range of sizes and has the capacity to hold a gallon of water. The best part is, you don’t have to get down on the ground to tighten up notches and secure the tree – just place your tree upright in the stand and pump the foot petal until it’s firmly in place.
Don’t forget to safeguard your floors. A mat like the Drymate Christmas Tree Stand Mat will protect flooring from spills and scratches. Its waterproof, non-slip backing will keep the surface dry and the stand in place. The mat is just big enough to accommodate any sized stand but short enough to be camouflaged with a tree skirt.
- Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
- Lights that produce low heat, such as miniatures, will reduce drying of the tree.
- Keep the tree far from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents and ducts).
- Hydration is crucial. A freshly-cut tree can consume a gallon of water in 24 hours.
- Check the stand throughout the day to make sure the water level doesn’t go below the base of the tree.
- The temperature of the water does not affect uptake.
- Make your tree last longer by lowering the room temperature. This will slow the drying process, resulting in less daily water consumption.
- Don’t use additives (preservatives, sugar, aspirin, etc…) in the water; they’ve not been proven to promote tree health or longevity. Only clean water is needed to maintain freshness.
- If you need assistance in making sure the tree has ample water supply, there are plenty of devices on the market that will make this task easier:
The Tree Nanny allows you to water your tree via a spout tube that comes up the base and through the branches – no more crawling and crouching! The device plays “Jingle Bells” when the tree needs watering and makes a chiming sound to prevent overfilling of any tree stand. It also has a light sensor to prevent the Tree Nanny from making sounds when the lights are off.
Santa’s Tree Helper is an automatic watering bucket that looks like a beautifully wrapped gift so it blends in seamlessly with the tree display. This device doubles the stand’s water capacity so that you only need to refill the bucket every 2 or 3 days.
Elf Logic is basically a Christmas tree IV bag that funnels water into the stand. Fill the pouch with 3 liters of H2O and tuck it beneath the branches. The tube feeds to a hydration valve that automatically cuts off water flow once the water line rises above the valve, to prevent overflow. As the water level drops, water flow resumes.