How much water do you need for a christmas tree

Making your real Christmas tree last through the holidays

Bert Cregg, Michigan State University, Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry -

Originally written by Jill O'Donnell and Bert Cregg.

Fresh tree, fresh cut and fresh water are essential in keeping your real Christmas tree fresh and hydrated throughout the holiday season.

Photo 1. The pull test is a quick and easy way to assess the freshness of a real Christmas tree. Photo by Bert Cregg, MSU.

Nothing says the holidays like having a real Christmas tree in the house. However, surveys indicate that the potential mess of pine needles on the floor often deters would-be real tree buyers. Michigan State University Extension reminds consumers that the keys to keeping the needles on your tree while it is on display in your house can be summarized as: fresh tree, fresh cut, fresh water.

Fresh tree

Starting with a fresh tree is essential to good needle retention and tree keepability. The best way to ensure a fresh tree is to cut one yourself at one of the many choose and cut farms located throughout Michigan. Use the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website to find a farm near you.

If you are not able to get your tree up right away, be sure to keep the tree in a cool, protected spot such as a garage, with the cut end in a bucket of water. If you buy a tree from a tree lot or a garden center, you can check the tree for freshness by doing the pull test. Gently pull on a shoot with your thumb and fingers; if the tree is fresh, you should not have any needles come off in your hand (Photo 1).

Fresh cut

Cut 0.5 to 1 inch off the base of the tree right before you put it in the tree stand to help the tree resume water uptake (Photo 2). After trees are cut at the farm, the cut end will begin to dry out and resin can clog the water conducting tissues in the trunk. These factors will limit water uptake, so re-cutting the end aids in allowing the tree to take up water and keeping the tree hydrated.

Photo 2. Re-cut the base of the tree before putting it in the tree stand to help the tree resume water uptake. Photo by Bert Cregg, MSU.

Fresh water

A fresh tree can use up to 1 quart of water per day for each inch of diameter on the cut end. A typical 7-foot-tall tree may have a 3-inch trunk diameter, so will need up to 3 quarts of water per day. If your tree is taking up a lot of water, this is actually a good sign and indicates the tree is fresh and hydrated.

Be sure to replace the water that is used each day and don’t allow the stand to dry out. Do not add sugar, aspirin, bleach or floral preservatives to the water; plain tap water is all that is needed to keep your tree fresh.

More information on selecting and caring for your Christmas tree from MSU Extension
  • Tips for success with your first real Christmas tree
  • Choosing the right Christmas tree
  • Christmas trees for connoisseurs: Try an exotic species this year
  • Living Christmas trees: Another real tree option
  • Why is my Christmas tree beginning to grow?
Tip sheets:
  • Michigan Christmas Trees

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension. To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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How to Care for Your Christmas Tree

Choosing the best stand and watering your evergreen correctly (and enough!) will extend its lifespan.

christmas tree surrounded by gifts and holiday decorations


During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, staying hydrated is key to maintaining your glow—especially if you're a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, many of us have thirsty tannenbaums. "Most people are surprised to learn that they're not properly watering their trees," says Tim O'Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade organization representing more than 700 farms.

Want to keep your evergreen looking, well, evergreen? Follow these expert Christmas tree care tips, which range from starting with a heathy tree to choosing the correct stand and watering appropriately.

Start With a Healthy Tree

First things first: Make sure you bring home a happy, healthy tree. "No matter what type of tree you select, you want the needles to be green and supple and the branches to be pliable," says O'Connor. "If it's already dry, it's not going to last long. " Ask the nursery owner or lot attendant when the trees were delivered. While some sellers receive all of their trees at once, others will have shipments scheduled throughout the season. Ideally, you want a tree from the most recent delivery.

To test the tree, run a branch through your hand. If the needles fall off or if the branch seems brittle, move on—the tree is already too dry. Other signs of a dry or deteriorating tree include wrinkled bark, discolored needles, and a musty odor.

Make a Fresh Cut

To ensure that your tree can properly drink, you'll want to make a fresh cut to the trunk. So, before placing your tree in water, use a saw to remove a half-inch-thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk. Don't cut the trunk into a V-shape or drill a hole into the base—despite what you may have heard, this will make it harder for your tree to absorb water, not easier.

After cutting your tree, place it in a bucket of water or a water-filled tree stand as soon as possible, advises O'Connor. Most species can go six to eight hours after a trunk cut and still take up water, but sooner is better.

Select the Right Stand

Not all Christmas tree stands were created equal. To help keep your tree well hydrated, select a quality stand that is large enough to provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. And don't whittle down a large tree to fit into a smaller stand—the outer layers of the wood are the best at absorbing water.

Water Regularly

Before you make your morning coffee, make it a habit to serve your tree some fresh water. "You should really be watering your tree daily," says O'Connor. "Especially during the first seven to ten days, which is when they take up the most water." For a standard size tree with a trunk diameter in the 5-inch range, you'll want to maintain at least 5 quarts of water in your stand each day. That said, there's no harm in refilling your stand to capacity—trees know their holiday drinking limits, so err on the side of extra.

Also make sure that the trunk is submerged in the water—depending on how low the tree sits in the stand, it could be floating above the water level. And if you have a history of neglecting houseplants, consider also investing in a water monitor that will beep when it's time to refill your stand.

Avoid Additives

Don't use additives in the water, advises O'Connor. While your florist may recommend plant food for cut flowers, trees only require clean water.

Monitor for Dryness

While the temperature of the water doesn't matter, the temperature of the air does. Heat will cause your tree to dry out prematurely, so avoid placing it near a vent or radiator if possible. If you have to place it near a heat source, check the water levels more frequently.

Monitor your tree for dryness, too. If the needles begin to shed excessively or are dry and brittle to the touch, it's time to remove the tree from your house, as it could become a fire hazard. With proper watering, most trees will stay healthy for four to six weeks, says O'Connor.

How to care for a Christmas tree on the site - Articles


  • Care of young seedlings (winter shelter, protection from spring sunburn, soil mulching, weeding, watering, pinching, pruning)
  • Care of mature plants (preparation for winter, protection from the spring sun, sanitary pruning, watering, fertilizing, treatment)
  • Conclusion

Coniferous plants in gardens and parks are able to give a good mood throughout the year, they are very different and can decorate a small front garden, create green backstage or impenetrable hedges. In order for conifers to fully grow and develop, the crown retains a beautiful shape, and the needles - a bright shade, unpretentious and viable, they still require some care.

Conifers in a winter landscape

Young plantings of conifers need more care than mature, mature plants. If planting a seedling was carried out in the spring, then during the season it is necessary to regularly water the plant (10 - 30 liters of water once a week or more, based on size). Coniferous plants are very demanding on air humidity and its purity - therefore, periodic washing and sprinkling of the crown, especially in hot summers or if the tree has been planted recently, will benefit them. Moisturizing the crown of small seedlings can be carried out from a watering can, and the needles of large plants are washed with a hose.

Crown sprinkling

After planting seedlings, it is recommended to mulch the near-stem circle to protect against water loss, temperature changes and weed growth. The earth can be closed either with coniferous litter, or crushed bark, or wood chips, or peat. If you mulch with humus, then it will also serve as a wonderful top dressing. If weeds still grow, weeding is necessary.

Coniferous plants do not like compacted soil, so in the early years it is recommended to loosen the trunk circle. It should not be deep, as many conifers have a shallow root system that should not be disturbed.

After planting and for the next 2 years, heat-loving seedlings must be covered for the winter with burlap or non-woven fabric from frost and spring burns. In order for the crown not to suffer from wind and snowfall, it is recommended to tie or install a rigid frame. In standard plants, the first 2-3 years after planting, the trunks are wrapped with burlap to avoid frost holes.

Preparing coniferous seedlings for winter

If the planting of conifers was carried out in accordance with all the rules (see the article “How to plant a Christmas tree”), then in the first years the seedlings do not need special root dressings, but they will gratefully accept foliar top dressing (for needles) in the spring (“Epin” (2 ml / 10 l of water) or "Zircon" (1 ml / 10 l of water), as well as specialized coniferous fertilizers). Such top dressing will help to recover faster after winter, improve growth and development, and increase the seedling's immunity to diseases and pests. Problematic plants can be fed with a rooter (an auxin-based preparation, such as heteroauxin) for better adaptation and growth of the root system.

Young seedlings do not need special haircuts, but with the advent of spring, it is necessary to carry out corrective pruning, as well as carefully examine the crown and remove dry needles, which can become a breeding ground for diseases and pests.

Sanitary spring pruning

In cloudy dry weather, young plants are processed from pathogenic fungi, mites and harmful insects. This can help copper and iron sulfate, as well as a variety of fungicidal and acaricidal preparations. Plants can be treated with specialized preparations both in spring and autumn, as well as, if necessary, as a result of scheduled inspections.

In the process of growth, conifers become whiter frost-resistant and require less maintenance throughout the year. Most are quite drought-resistant (pines, spruces) and after adaptation do not need frequent watering, 2-3 times per season, 50-100 liters is enough. In the warm period, watering is carried out moderately, slightly increasing it in the fall. Tui, which have a superficial root system, prefer moist soil, but even here it is important to observe the measure and not turn the land under them into a swamp. If drainage is poor and moisture is retained, the roots will not have enough oxygen. As a result of such an overflow, the plant begins to hurt and may die. Also, like seedlings, adult plants love sprinkling, while the needles are cleaned and improved. It is better to spend it in the evening or in cloudy weather to avoid sunburn.

Watering and sprinkling plantings

Adult plants need to be fed twice a year. It is preferable to choose specialized coniferous fertilizers, but it should be remembered that in spring they should include nitrogen, which is responsible for the growth and development of conifers. Autumn fertilizer containing phosphorus, potassium, magnesium will help plants prepare for winter. If the needles are yellowish, then fertilizing with magnesium-containing elements will have a beneficial effect on its color. Root top dressing should be carried out on wet ground in order to save the root system of coniferous plants from burns or apply when loosening, followed by abundant watering. Foliar top dressing is also very important, which can not only improve the appearance of the plant, but also increase the plant's immunity to pests and pathogenic fungi.

Conifers do not like compacted soil, and in order not to constantly loosen it, further mulching of the trunk circle should be carried out. It will also help to avoid temperature fluctuations and overheating of the root system, conserve water and get rid of weeds. The thickness of the mulch should be at least 5 - 10 cm.

As a rule, most conifers have a crown of a certain shape, which does not require large interventions. You can correct and remove dried branches both in spring and autumn. Shaping haircut can be carried out at any warm time of the year, but it is better to choose cool, dry and cloudy weather, followed by watering. For more information about pruning plants, see the article "How to cut a Christmas tree."

The best way to protect against diseases is to prevent them. With the onset of spring, you should carefully examine the plants, remove the old needles from the crown and treat with special preparations. Falcon, Revus or Quadris will help against fungal diseases, and Kinmiks, Decis, Karbafos, Fitoverm will help prevent ticks and harmful insects. Copper and iron sulfate are also used to treat and prevent diseases of conifers, such as rust. Bordeaux mixture can leave a blue mark on the needles of plants. Preventive treatments are best done twice per season (April and September). During the whole season it is necessary to carry out scheduled inspections of plants. Yellowing or dying off of the needles indicates a possible disease.

Winter landscape

Despite the increase in winter hardiness, adult plants need proper preparation for winter. This includes not only preventive treatments, which were mentioned earlier, but also protection from future snowfalls, icing, frost, winds and early spring burns. A variety of coniferous plants makes it possible to choose frost-resistant varieties. Properly selected - they will not create problems, but there is a possibility of damage to the shoots under the weight of snow and icing. Sufficiently resistant to winter precipitation, spruce and fir with strong or flexible branches. Fragile pines, arborvitae and junipers with thin and flat shoots suffer much more from the snowbreaker. To avoid negative consequences, in many varietal cone-shaped or columnar coniferous plants for the winter, the crown is tied and covered with burlap, kraft paper or non-woven material, and adhering snow is periodically shaken off. If it is, for example, a spherical thuja, it may require a rigid frame.

Covering plants in winter

In early spring, in February-March, when the sun begins to warm up, coniferous plants wake up from hibernation and begin to actively develop and evaporate moisture, while the root system has not yet woken up, remaining in deeply frozen ground. As a result, the plant dries out, and a sunburn forms. To prevent this, plants should be shaded from intense radiance with screens, burlap, kraft paper or non-woven material.

Coniferous plants are able to decorate any territory, but at the same time they must not only be placed and planted correctly, but also ensure proper care. Today we examined the general rules for caring for conifers, but each species has its own characteristics and requires an individual approach. It is important to correctly calculate your strength and choose plants that will grow and develop well without painstaking care. Our designers will help with the selection of interesting varieties, and the workers with planting and care. In our online store you can pick up not only interesting varieties, but also decide on the size and very quickly create the garden of your dreams.

Other articles about conifers:

  • Coniferous plants in landscape design
  • Which tree to choose for planting on the site (Choosing a coniferous plant for planting in the garden)
  • Hedge conifers

Spruce in a pot - care instructions

  • Spruce in a pot - rules of care



13 minutes to read

  1. .Purchase of a plant
  2. .Suitable temperature
  3. . Humidification and watering
  4. .Lighting
  5. .Fertilizer
  6. .Transplant rules

Content: 1. Buying a plant 2. Suitable temperature 3. Humidification and watering 4. Lighting 5. Fertilizer 6. Transplant rules Coniferous plants can be planted not only in the garden. They look great in the house too. Spruce in a pot, as well as on the street, requires special care, including watering, lighting, maintaining the required temperature and fertilizer.

Plant purchase

At the time of purchasing a Christmas tree in a pot, you need to pay attention to some signs that can tell a lot about the life of needles from past owners.

• Pot capacity. If the container with the earth is too small relative to the crown of the plant, then the roots were cut during transplantation. It is better not to buy such a Christmas tree, because it will die soon. • Escapes. If shoots appeared at the ends of the plant in winter, then its growth was stimulated at the wrong time for this. There is a high probability of an early disease of the tree. • Scenery. It is unacceptable that the needles be varnished or shiny spray. Sellers do this to give the plant a marketable appearance. However, after such manipulations, the tree dies due to clogged pores. Sometimes it can be saved by washing thoroughly with water. • Fortress of the trunk. If the trunk staggers while in the ground, it means that not so long ago the tree was transplanted. It is worth buying such a spruce with caution, because the transplant could be done incorrectly. • Roots. They should occupy all the space in the tank with the ground. This guarantees a strong fixation of the tree and subsequent intensive growth.

The following types of coniferous plants are suitable for Russian climatic conditions: • Konik spruce; • Serbian spruce; • decorative blue spruce; • German spruce; • dwarf fir; • western thuja.

Suitable temperature

Before bringing the plant into the house, you should hold it in a cool place for 3-5 days. Otherwise, a sharp change in temperature can provoke the growth of needles, as in spring. It would seem that there is nothing terrible in this, however, along with the spruce itself, the roots will also begin to grow. Soon they will become cramped in a pot, causing the root system to weaken.

The Christmas tree prefers cool, moist air, so it is best to place it in a place where there are no heaters. It is also important to prevent the air from drying out, to ventilate and humidify the room. A bucket of cold water should be placed next to the plant. And it is better to keep the tree on the balcony, because it does not tolerate room heat well. The optimal temperature limits for spruce are from +5 to +12 degrees. Spruce in a pot also tolerates negative indicators, but its roots in a container should still be wrapped in a blanket in severe frosts.

You can’t put a container with a Christmas tree on concrete in winter, otherwise the earth and roots will freeze.

Humidification and watering

Coniferous plants, in particular spruce in a pot, require a lot of moisture, so you need to water it every 2 days, 2-3 liters at a time. However, it is also impossible to pour the tree, otherwise the roots will rot. It is easy to determine the required amount of water for a plant as the earth dries out. In addition to watering, Christmas trees require external moisture in the form of daily spraying through a spray bottle. In winter, the plant rests, so watering should be reduced to 1 time in 3 weeks if the temperature is within 6-10 degrees Celsius. At zero degrees and below, watering should be done once a month. In summer, it is necessary to water and moisten the tree 1-2 times a day. Water for irrigation is desirable to defend.


Coniferous plants require moderate and diffused light. They do not fit a dark room and direct sunlight. If you want the tree to have a uniform green color over the entire surface, then you need to regularly rotate it around its axis. For example, a spruce horse in a pot needs bright light, but it should not be allowed to dry out. In hot weather, and especially in autumn, you need to protect branches and needles. Tool 9 is perfect for this.0103 Purshat-O , it will effectively protect plants from sunburn.


The needles are unpretentious, so it does not require special means for growth. During the period of active growth of spruce (from May to September), it is enough to water it with the use of mineral fertilizers 1-2 times a month. They are sold in the departments with garden tools. From improvised products, you can use tincture of onion peel. And from November to March, during the rest period, the plant does not need to be fed.

Transplant rules

Favorable adaptation and further growth of a coniferous plant depends on the correct transplant. When transplanting a Christmas tree from one pot to another, it is important to observe several conditions. • Trees experience stress during transplantation, so this procedure is best done no more than 1 time in 2-3 years. However, if the needles grow rapidly and the roots grow strongly, then it should be transplanted immediately, as the root system fills all the free space in the pot. • Use a clear plastic container for transplanting to see root growth and monitor soil moisture. It is necessary to make large holes, which subsequently cannot become clogged. If the appearance of such a container does not suit you, then hide it in a flower pot. • Spruce should be pulled out with a single clod of soil without exposed roots. • Needles require soil with high acidity. Such land is sold in specialized stores. At the bottom you need to pour expanded clay as drainage and charcoal, and then the soil itself. • You can not close the neck of the needles, otherwise it will die. • Transplanting is best done in winter, when the plant is resting. Remember that spruce is not adapted to being in the house all the time. It should be transplanted into open ground as soon as possible. It is important to understand that when growing a coniferous tree in a pot, it will reach a height of no more than 30 centimeters. In open ground, the tree can grow up to 2 meters.

  1. .Purchase of a plant
  2. .Suitable temperature
  3. .Humidification and watering
  4. .Lighting
  5. .Fertilizer
  6. . Transplant rules
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