How to care christmas tree
How to Make a Real Christmas Tree Last Longer
If you celebrate Christmas, you know there's nothing like having a real Christmas tree in your home. The adventure of heading to your local Christmas tree farm, picking out the perfect fir, pine or spruce, then bringing it home is half the fun — but the magic really begins once your tree is all dressed up for the holidays.
To keep your tree's sparkle alive for as long as possible indoors, the home care experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have rounded up our best tips for making sure that your tree is still looking fresh come Christmas morning.
With proper care, most real Christmas trees should last at least five weeks or more.
That means, if you decorate for Christmas in late November, your tree should easily survive beyond the holiday festivities. However, we suggest buying your Christmas tree during the first week of December to ensure you aren't left with a dried up, brittle tree come December 25.
Follow our tips to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh long after it's cut.
1. Start with a healthy Christmas tree from a local farm.
If you buy your tree from a garden store or roadside lot, it's likely that it came from out-of-state and has been exposed to drying winds in transit — meaning, it's going to have a much shorter shelf life than one that you've chopped down yourself at a local tree farm. Either way, it's essential to know how to choose the freshest possible Christmas tree.
Keep these tips in mind as you hunt for you Christmas tree:
- Look for a healthy, green tree with the least amount of brown needles.
- Select a tree displayed in a shady location. Avoid picking from a sunny area.
- Run a few branches through your hands. The needles should feel pliable and not fall off.
- Raise the tree a few inches, then drop the trunk into the ground. Very few green needles should fall off (but it's fine if the tree loses a few brown ones).
2. Trim the trunk (and then trim it again).
When you purchase a Christmas tree, double-check that the seller makes a fresh cut straight across the base of the trunk to aid water absorption. This gets rid of any dried-over resin that might block the tree from absorbing water.
When you get home, if you're not putting your tree up right away, place it in a bucket of water. (Note that you should always store real trees in an unheated garage or area that's protected from wind and freezing temperatures.)
When you're ready to bring it inside, make another one-inch cut off the bottom of the trunk to help with water absorption.
3. Check the water level of your Christmas tree daily.
Once inside, place your tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water. Then don't forget to regularly water your Christmas tree — too little can cause resin to form, which means the tree won't absorb water and it will dry out quickly.
Much more is at risk than just aesthetics — a dry Christmas tree can pose a real danger to your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2015 and 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires started by Christmas trees each year. It can take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to burn down most of your living room — but that's not the case with a watered Christmas tree.
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So how much water does your tree need? "Your stand should have a water reservoir that can hold one quart of water for every inch of the trunk's diameter," advises Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's executive technical director. Just remember to check the water level daily and refill as needed — it should always cover the bottom two inches of the trunk.
Even though you've heard people talk about adding things like bleach, corn syrup, aspirin, and sugar to the water, we believe tree preservatives and additives are probably unnecessary. Most experts agree that plenty of clean water is all you need to keep a tree fresh.
EXPERT TIP: If you lower the temperature in the room, it can also help slow down the drying process (and therefore result in your tree requiring a bit less water), according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
4. Keep the Christmas tree away from heat sources.
Sure, there's nothing more lovely than a beautifully decorated Christmas tree beside a roaring fireplace — but, along with frayed Christmas lights, candles, radiators, air ducts and stoves, a regularly used fireplace could contribute to your tree drying out at a much quicker pace. Plus, the NFPA reports that nearly 1/5 of Christmas tree fires are caused by a tree being too close to a heat source.
If your home is prone to dryness, try using a top-rated humidifier to add moisture to the room. The Good Housekeeping Institute Tech Lab recommends the Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier for large areas (like the living room!). It performed well in our tests and can add enough moisture to the air to keep your tree fresh longer.
5. Take your tree downbefore it dries out.
If you wait too long to take down your Christmas tree, you'll just end up with more dead pine needles to deal with. The easiest way to clean up fallen needles is by using your vacuum's hose — skip the fancy attachments and just use the end of the hose to draw needles directly into the bag or canister.
When you're officially done with your tree, you have a couple options: You can start a new compost pile with it, recycle it or turn it into mulch yourself. You can also ask your town about what types of disposal options it offers, if you're looking for a more eco-friendly solution.
- 15 Best Outdoor Christmas Lights
- 75+ Homemade Christmas Ornaments for Your Tree
Carolyn FortéHome Care & Cleaning Lab Executive Director
Carolyn Forté brings more than 40 years of experience as a consumer products expert to her role as executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab. Using deep analytical testing and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, textiles and organizational products, she produces cleaning and home care advice for GH, has authored numerous books and bookazines for the brand and partners with the American Cleaning Institute to co-produce the Discover Cleaning Summits. She holds a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Queens College, City University of New York.
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Care tips | National Christmas Tree Association
How to Care for Your Farm-Grown Christmas Tree
Use lots of water
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. Below are a number of tips on caring for your tree:
- Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.
- To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
- Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
- Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.
- Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
- The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
- Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
- Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
- Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
- Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
- Do not overload electrical circuits.
- Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
- Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house.
- Visit the Tree Recycling page to find a recycling program near you.
- Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley; edited by the National Christmas Tree Association
If you get a tree with the roots attached, either in a pot or burlap, follow these suggested tree care tips:
- The adaptability of the species should be considered. Many species are shipped outside of their natural area and may not be adaptable to other areas. Check with a reliable nursery or extension forester.
- Keep in mind that Living Trees are VERY heavy and bulky. A six foot tall balled and burlapped tree will weigh as much as 250 pounds.
- The tree should be stored in an unheated, sheltered area such as a garage or porch, out of the wind and sun. Do not expose the tree to freezing temperatures at any time.
- The tree will need adequate water. The root ball or soil should be kept slightly damp but not flooded. Wrap the root ball of a balled tree in plastic or place in a tub while it is in the house.
- Live trees may be decorated, but with care. If lights are used, they must not give off any heat.
- Do not remove the tree directly from a warm house out into freezing temperatures. Instead, move to a sheltered area first for several days.
- If the ground is unfrozen, the tree may be replanted. The spot to be dug should be mulched to prevent freezing. Plant as soon as possible.
- Do not remove the burlap and strapping (unless it is plastic). This keeps the root ball solid and secure. In the instance of a plastic cover, cut the cord and roll down the plastic at least half way prior to planting. Tap the tree container of a potted tree and remove prior to planting. Do not attempt to remove soil from the root system. Earth removed from the original hole should be back-filled around the root ball. Mulch heavily over the top of the planted root ball to prevent it from freezing. Water only as needed: a flooded tree may not survive.
- Stake the trees to prevent wind tipping or damage during the first growing season.
How to keep the Christmas tree fresh longer after purchase - Articles
- How to care for a Christmas tree?
- How to keep your Christmas tree fresh before installation
- Christmas tree installation
- Water supply to the shaft
- Caring for the tree after installation
- Christmas trees in a pot
- What to do with the Christmas tree after the holidays?
How to care for a Christmas tree?
Everyone who would like to buy a real live Christmas tree for the New Year thought about how long the Christmas tree will last at home, and how many days before the holiday you need to buy it?
We answer - the life of Christmas trees, firs and pines is different, but none of them will stay warm in your house for more than two weeks.
Russian and Norwegian Christmas trees begin to crumble after about 5-7 days, pines stand a few days longer, firs do not crumble, but gradually dry out and change the color of the needles, it becomes paler. For more information about the properties of New Year trees, in our article "Types of New Year Trees."
This applies, of course, to trees already unpacked and installed in a warm room. However, it is possible to buy spruce long before the New Year and keep it fresh for the holiday, up to a month or more. We'll show you how.
Christmas tree in the interior
How to keep your Christmas tree fresh before installation
The first thing to do is to decide on the date when you need it, already beautiful and dressed up. We recommend installing Danish Spruce, Fraser Fir, Canadian Pine 5-7 days in advance, and Russian and Norwegian Christmas Trees 3-5 days in advance.
All the time until this moment, it is better for the tree to stay in a cool place, at a temperature not higher than 5-10 degrees Celsius, with a minimum amount of light and, preferably, with high humidity.
The key to success is to reduce the amount of moisture evaporated from the plant. For this purpose, a garage or an unheated balcony is perfect. In our experience, there was a case when the Christmas tree remained green and fresh even six months after purchase. And one of our employees set up a Christmas tree on March 8, as an unusual gift for loved ones.
By the way, live Fraser fir comes to Russia from North America, from where it is transported for 45 days in cold stores across the ocean, with a minimum amount of light and with 100% humidity.
This does not affect its quality in any way, since Fraser Fir is considered the highest quality Christmas tree that can be bought in our country for the New Year: it stands for a very long time, does not crumble at all, and the branches of this fir are so strong that they can withstand even very heavy toys and real candlesticks.
Christmas tree installation
The cut Christmas tree begins to dry out only from the moment it gets into heat and the process of “drying” begins, the evaporation of moisture from the needles, so after installing the Christmas tree, you need to provide it with a regular supply of water to the trunk, and cool, humid air.
A place for a Christmas tree is suitable away from open flames, electric heaters, radiators and other heat sources. It is very good if the room is sometimes ventilated in order to slightly lower the temperature, and the air is regularly humidified.
After unpacking, the tree must be shaken off dry needles. A certain number of such needles should not scare you, this is quite normal, since spruce branches rub against each other during transportation and packaging. The total mass will still remain green.
Separately, it is worth mentioning that if there is a severe frost outside, less than 15 degrees, then the needles and twigs become very fragile and can be easily damaged. In such weather, we do not recommend disturbing the live spruce branches once again immediately after you brought it home. It is better to hold it for the gradual adaptation of the tree to room temperature, and only then unfold it.
Water supply to the shaft
The next thing to do is to ensure a regular supply of water to the trunk. In order for the tree to better absorb water, the trunk is cut down 2-3 cm from the log house or notched with a knife to form a fresh cut and a larger area for absorbing moisture.
When delivering a Christmas tree from our online store, this is done without fail, and at our Christmas tree markets - at the request of the buyer. If you do it yourself, try not to cut the trunk at an angle, such a tree will be difficult to establish, and also do not accidentally cut the bark above the water level - this will greatly reduce the amount of moisture absorbed.
You can use special Christmas tree stands with water tanks. In them, the Christmas tree is securely and quickly fixed in the desired position, and it is easy to add water as it evaporates. We also recommend using hydrogel - a special tool for retaining moisture.
Trees on stands
Tree maintenance after installation
All trees crumble differently. The Russian Christmas tree, as well as the European (Norwegian) spruce, will begin to lose needles in a few days, the Russian and Canadian pines stand a little longer, their needles may dry out, but if they are not disturbed, they will not crumble much, especially in Canadian pine. And, for example, Danish spruce (Nordmann fir) and Fraser fir do not lose their needles at all, they dry out right on the branches, only slightly changing color. You can take them outside after the holidays, losing perhaps 10 percent of the needles.
Potted Christmas trees
There is an option to do without shedding needles at all - this is to buy a spruce in a pot. The price of this Christmas tree will be higher than that of a cut tree, but it will not give you any trouble with cleaning. This is a beautiful, well-wintering, world-famous ornamental plant that can be planted in the spring in the yard or at their summer cottage. See also "All about spruces in containers"
The higher the air temperature in the room, the sooner your cut spruce will begin to crumble. At a temperature of 10 degrees above zero, the New Year tree will stand for a long time, up to a month. But in winter it is quite hot in our apartments, and every 5 degrees increase in temperature reduces the life expectancy of spruce by 1 day. That is, if your house has 28-30 degrees, then with all the tricks, the tree will stand for only a few days. We advise you to regularly ventilate the room in which your Christmas tree stands in order to lower the air temperature by at least a few degrees. You should also not forget that electric electric heaters dry out the air a lot, so it is better not to use them where a live Christmas tree is installed.
Spray the branches as often as possible with a spray bottle, but you need to do this only after making sure that the electric garland on it is turned off!
There are also special products for extending the life of Christmas trees - in the form of water-soluble tablets (1 tablet per 2 liters of water) or liquid fertilizer (2 caps of the product per 1.5 liters of water). We will not claim that this is a panacea for shedding, such products prolong the life of cut fir trees by only 2-5 days, but, as a rule, this is enough to celebrate the New Year holidays and spend the weekend comfortably without thinking about urgent cleaning.
Christmas trees in pots
What to do with the Christmas tree after the holidays?
For convenience, you can buy a special case for the disposal of Christmas trees. You can put a tree on it so as not to scratch the floor in the apartment, it is suitable as a decorative element that covers the stand, it will be possible to hide especially valuable gifts in it, and after the holidays, wrap the tree and take it outside without scattering dry needles.
A live Christmas tree is a real joy for the whole family. And after the holidays, you can throw it away without any regret. Wood is one of the most environmentally friendly materials; when disposed of, it does not harm nature, like plastic bags or artificial Christmas trees.
See also: "Which is better - a live Christmas tree or an artificial one"
If you do not want to think about what to do with the tree after the New Year, or the question “Who will go to throw the tree away?” is popular in your family. then you can order a special service from us - Removal and disposal of the Christmas tree, our employees will save you from these troubles, and you will continue to relax.
Packed Christmas trees
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How to take care of the Christmas tree at home — Botanichka
The Christmas tree is one of the most recognizable symbols of the winter holiday. Some prefer to buy felled coniferous trees at specialized bazaars, while others purchase artificial analogues and use them for many years. But what if you feel sorry for the living Christmas tree, and you want to inhale the indescribable smell of pine needles under the chiming clock? You can, of course, decorate the house with spruce or pine paws. But, nevertheless, only a real decorative tree will create an atmosphere of celebration. And for it to appear at home, there are two main ways - to grow a Christmas tree on your own or buy a ready-made one in a pot. Only in this way, we will not destroy the trees, and we will please ourselves and our loved ones.How to care for a Christmas tree at home
How to care for a Christmas tree in a pot before transplanting into the ground
In principle, you can grow a homemade Christmas tree in your garden plot on your own. Its seeds, subject to certain rules and their good quality, have good germination and germinate within 1-1.5 months. But if you plant an ordinary spruce now, then not only this year, but also in the next few years, it is unlikely to become a decoration of the house.
This coniferous plant grows very slowly in the first years of life. To grow a Christmas tree for this New Year, you had to start at least 5 years ago. And then, by this time, her crown would be very loose, without the characteristic fluffiness.
Therefore, for compact landscaping, cultivation of dwarf spruce ornamental varieties is practiced. Such plants are suitable not only for landscape design, but can be kept at home for some time before planting in open ground. And the best option is when you plan to decorate your site with decorative fir trees next year. Buy spruce in pots in the nursery in winter, provide proper care - watering and lighting. And in the spring it will be possible to plant a Christmas tree in a permanent place. So you will meet the holiday, as expected, and solve the issue of landscaping the site.Potted Dwarf Spruces
Decorative Canadian Spruce is well suited as a lively New Year's decoration. Its advantages include:
- compact dimensions;
- symmetrical dense crown;
- saturated color of needles;
- resistance to adverse conditions.
For the New Year, it is better to choose Canadian spruce of dwarf varieties (konik), and then use it to organize rock gardens or design various areas of the site. Spruce coniki can revive flower beds with some flowers or create independent compositions from small trees. When buying a seedling, immediately pay attention to its condition. The needles should be of a typical color, without spots, dots, and the root ball should not be overdried or have traces of mold.
For decorative Christmas trees at home, you need to choose a place away from heating appliances. They do not tolerate dry air well. Moreover, if the tree was bought already “sleeping”, then before the holiday it is advisable to leave it in a completely cool place - on an unheated loggia or balcony, where the optimum temperature will be maintained at 2-6 degrees Celsius.It is better to choose the location for the plant away from heat sources
New Year's conifers in a pot are watered as the soil dries out, the root ball should not be very waterlogged (as the plants are susceptible to fungal diseases), but also not dry out. The only time you need to shed the soil abundantly is immediately after purchase, when you brought the seedling home. After that, the water is allowed to drain and then watered in moderate doses.
It is useful, from time to time, to spray needles with water, washing away dust from it and improving the microclimate in the crown. But make sure that moisture does not roll onto the trunk or root collar. If a small tree has a too dense crown, then in this case, increased humidity, combined with stagnation of air, can lead to fungal diseases.
If you are going to transplant your Christmas tree next spring, then after the purchase you can not change the container in which it was. But the pot must be intact, and the volume of soil in it is sufficient. Sometimes you have to add a little soil to the container if the lump has become compacted during transportation, and voids have formed along the edges.
For backfilling, you can take soil consisting of:
- lowland peat;
- coniferous soil.
These components are mixed in equal proportions. In extreme cases (diseases, damage to the root system, broken containers), you can transplant a tree until spring.Bona Forte Coniferous Fertilizer
In such a situation, it is advisable to transfer the entire root ball into a larger container. But in general, without the need to carry out this procedure, it is not worth it, since they do not tolerate transplantation very well, they get sick and take root for a long time after that.
For top dressing of conifers after their planting in open ground, you can use a specialized fertilizer for conifers "Bona Forte". It is suitable for application during the growing season.
In addition to the NPK complex, it contains 9 trace elements, as well as humic acids, a valuable organic compound that has the strongest positive effect on plant health and the quality of biochemical processes.
How to prolong the freshness of the New Year tree
Of course, not every city dweller has the opportunity (or desire) to plant a spruce in the country in order to put the green beauty in the “red” corner for the holidays in a few years. Well, the forestries specially for this grow entire plantations, which are cut off before the New Year. Sometimes fir trees appear in the markets even after the procedures for lightening forest plantings, when overly dense thickets are thinned out. And after acquiring a cut Christmas tree, the question always arises - how to keep it longer? It's no secret that these trees dry out and lose their needles very quickly. After that, the tree not only begins to look unattractive, but also becomes a stable supplier of garbage.
As a rule, Christmas trees are installed in three main ways:
- in a regular stand;
- in a pot or bucket of sand;
- in a heavy floor vase;
- special delivery with water tank.
The first way is the simplest, but also the most impractical. In this form, the tree dries out very quickly and the needles begin to fly around within 1-2 weeks. A container with sand can extend the “life” of the symbol of the New Year, but it is difficult to find extra soil in the apartment, and it dries quickly, and moisture, in the absence of a root system, enters the tissues in small quantities.Bona Forte for spruce, arborvitae and firs
The best option is a container with water, better is a stand specifically for the Christmas tree. But in order for the spruce to stand for a really long time, some substances must be dissolved in water.