How to extend life of 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.

How long do real Christmas trees last?

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.

How to keep a Christmas tree alive for longer

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.

    Rike_//Getty Images

    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 down

    before 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.

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    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.

    This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    7 Proven Tips and Tricks to Make a Christmas Tree Last Longer – Garden Betty

    If you’re as enthusiastic about the holiday season as I am, you probably like to decorate your Christmas tree early, and that means bringing home a live tree soon after Thanksgiving and hoping it lasts for several weeks.

    If you’re not diligent at the start of the season, however, you could end up with more fallen pine needles than presents under the tree by Christmas Day.

    There are a number of tricks to make a Christmas tree last longer, and this goes for a tree picked up at the local tree lot, a tree harvested from a Christmas tree farm, or a tree cut down in the forest (which my family does in Oregon every year as a beloved tradition).

    But none of the tricks I share below involve the advice you often hear for extending the bloom of cut flowers, like cutting the bottom at an angle or adding sugar (or molasses, aspirin, commercial preservatives, or other unnecessary additives) to the water.

    In fact, the only things you’ll need to ensure a nice, long life for your tree is a clean cut and plenty of water.

    Don’t believe me? Read on.

    Here are the exact steps I take every year to keep our Christmas tree fresh and beautiful all month long (and even past the New Year).

    And if you brought home a living tree instead, learn how to keep your potted Christmas tree healthy so you can plant it in your yard afterward!



    How to make a Christmas tree last longer

    1. Start with a healthy, vibrant tree.

    This is especially important if you’re buying a specimen from a tree lot, as the tree may have been cut a couple weeks prior and transported a long distance to reach the vendor. Don’t be afraid to ask the vendor where the trees came from and how recently they were harvested.

    Before bringing a tree home, run your fingers along the branches and look for soft, flexible needles that have a rich, deep green color.

    Dried-out trees will often have a bleached or pale olive-colored appearance. Check how many needles fall off right away—if it’s a lot, it’s a good indication that the tree is not as fresh as it should be. Give the tree a good shake and watch for an excessive amount of needles that fall, as well as signs of thinning or browning areas.

    Related: Why Inner Conifer Needles Turn Yellow or Brown in Fall: An Evergreen Anomaly

    If the tree is already starting to dry out and has stiff, brittle needles, it won’t take up as much water, and a warm, cozy home will only exacerbate the problem.

    Weight also matters: a heavy tree means it’s retained a lot of water, helping it stay fresher longer.

    If you’re cutting your own tree, try to wait for a few hard frosts to happen first. This sends evergreen species into a state of dormancy so they’re hardened and ready for winter. Their needles form a heavy, waxy coating called cutin to help prevent moisture loss, and they’re less likely to react to sunlight and warm indoor temperatures.

    2. Give the tree a clean, straight cut across the bottom.

    Chopping down your own tree ensures you have the freshest cut possible, assuming you don’t live more than a couple hours away.

    This is because it takes three to four hours for a seal of dried sap to form over the cut trunk, thereby hindering its ability to absorb water. It’s most common in non-dormant trees and those that sit out in the sun for a while.

    If you’re buying a tree from a tree lot, ask the vendor to make a fresh cut for you by slicing off a thin disk of wood from the trunk. This is ideal if you’ll be placing your tree in water within 45 minutes of the cut.

    Otherwise, make the cut yourself at home by sawing an inch off the bottom in a straight line (no angled or “V” cuts necessary).

    You should make a fresh cut even if you cut your own tree just a few hours ago.

    Why? Because when a tree is first cut, air gets into the plant tissues and disrupts the tree’s ability to absorb water. Cutting the trunk again “primes” the tree, so to speak, so it can hydrate properly.

    3. Get the tree in water as soon as you come home.

    The drive home on the roof of your car or the bed of your truck can start to dry out even the freshest tree to the point where it needs a drink of water immediately.

    If you haven’t cleared space in your home for the tree yet, place the trunk in a large bucket of water in a cool, shaded, sheltered spot like an unheated garage (or a covered porch, if it doesn’t get below freezing in your area).

    Trees can absorb as much as a gallon of water in the first 24 hours, so it’s crucial that your tree stays well hydrated.

    As soon as you bring your tree indoors, set it up in a sturdy tree stand with a generous water reservoir that holds at least a gallon of water.

    Quick tip: Don’t decorate your tree until you’re sure it’s taking up water properly. If the water reservoir is still relatively full the next day, make a new cut or (assuming you purchased it from a tree lot) return the tree for a different one.

    Use a stand that’s properly sized for your tree, as you want to avoid carving off the bark to fit the stand—it’s those outer layers that help the tree absorb the most water. Without them, your tree will dry out sooner.

    4. Keep it cool.

    As romantic as the idea of a beautifully lit Christmas tree by the fireplace is (you know, so Santa has quick access), it’s actually not the most ideal place to keep a tree.

    Heat sources like fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters, and radiators often dry out a tree much faster than you can water it, so it’s best to locate your tree away from heating apparatuses and heating vents, and out of direct sunlight.

    If you love having your tree in front of a window, try to avoid a south-facing window (or draw the blinds or curtains during the day when the sun is most intense).

    The warmer your home is, the more your tree will take up water, so consider lowering the thermostat to slow the drying process.

    If you live in a particularly dry climate, it may also help to run a room humidifier near the tree to keep the needles fresher longer.

    Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

    5. Opt for LED lights.

    Believe it or not, the type of Christmas light you decorate your tree with can affect how long your tree lasts. Should you go incandescent or LED? Well, here’s the thing…

    The new school of LED holiday lights emit very little heat, which keeps your tree from drying out too quickly and also reduces the risk of fire.

    They’re inexpensive, energy efficient, don’t burn out, and last a long time, and most modern LED lights come in a “warm white” glow that mimics incandescent lights. (My favorites are these sphere lights, which have a sort of retro look to them.)

    For all these reasons, it’s worth replacing your traditional light strands with LED lights, or saving those hot-burning incandescent bulbs for your windows instead.

    You can find tree toppers lit with LED lights, too. Many of them are made to connect to your LED light strands, so you don’t have to deal with extra cords or batteries.

    6. Check the water level every day.

    Trees suck up a vast amount of water, so don’t be surprised if you find that you need to top off your tree stand daily.

    Keep at least 2 inches of the trunk submerged in plain, clean water at all times to prevent sap from forming over the base. (It’ll be much harder to make a fresh cut again if your tree’s already decorated.)

    Remember that sometimes there will still be water in the stand, but you won’t realize that the water level has dropped below the base of the tree.

    In general, a tree can absorb up to a quart of water per day for every inch of its diameter, especially in the first week.

    This is one of the reasons a properly sized tree stand is helpful. If your tree trunk is 5 inches in diameter, get a tree stand that holds at least 5 quarts of water so you don’t have to refill it twice or more each day to keep the needles green and supple.

    (See my favorites, like this Tree Genie Deluxe, in the source list below. )

    7. Recycle your Christmas tree in the garden.

    With proper care, a typical evergreen tree should last four to five weeks before it dries out too much. After that, most people dispose of it through a local tree recycling program.

    But, you can give your tree a second life in the garden and have everything come full circle.

    Try cutting the branches into smaller pieces and adding them to your compost pile. Since organic brown matter (carbon) is harder to come by in winter, they’re perfect for balancing all the green matter (nitrogen) that come from your kitchen scraps. Or, run the trunk and branches through a wood chipper to make mulch for your planters and paths.

    An old Christmas tree also makes a good base for a new hugelkultur bed, a type of lasagna garden that’s one of my favorite lazy gardening techniques.

    If you have perennial garden beds that need mulching, you can strip the tree of its branches and place them around your plants and shrubs. Leaving the branches long like this will create a nice, thick mat of mulch for the remainder of the season.

    For the crafty folks, you can also slice the trunk into thin rounds to use as coasters, place cards, gift tags, and other fun projects.

    Need more inspiration? Here are 10 clever ideas for repurposing an old Christmas tree. You’ll never wonder what to do with a dead tree again!

    Common questions about keeping Christmas trees fresh

    How often should you water a Christmas tree?

    Refill the water reservoir once a day, or invest in an extra large tree stand that only needs to be filled once or twice. (This is my favorite stand, and it’s a burly one too—you won’t have to worry about your tree toppling over. It’s also a cinch to get your tree upright. I own it and love it.)

    The first week is the most crucial period for a Christmas tree’s survival—it’s when the tree takes up the most water, so keeping the water reservoir in your tree stand topped off  is very important.

    After a week or so, the tree will respond to the cut on its trunk by oozing resin, which naturally seals the “wound.” At that point, it won’t take up as much water but still needs it to retain moisture in the needles.

    Should you add anything to Christmas tree water?

    There’s some debate about whether adding any kind of preservative to the water (like sugar, corn syrup, aspirin, or even vodka) can keep a Christmas tree fresher, but experts agree that plain, clean water is best.

    Does drilling holes in a Christmas tree help?

    Contrary to what your grandpa may have told you, never drill holes in a Christmas tree trunk, thinking it will help the tree take up more water.

    All it needs is a clean, straight cut when you bring it home, and a good long soak in a 5-gallon bucket of water (if you aren’t able to get it in the tree stand right away).

    How long will a Christmas tree last?

    In general, five weeks from when you cut it is about the time your tree becomes so dry that it’s a fire hazard.

    But if the tree is kept in ideal conditions (away from heaters and south-facing windows, and watered religiously), it could actually stretch into a sixth week. Just be sure to keep a close eye on the needles and how much they drop each day.

    On the other hand, trees purchased from Christmas tree lots may only last three to four weeks, depending on when they were harvested.

    When buying from a retail lot, ask the vendor when he received his shipment of trees. Some vendors only receive shipments at the beginning of the season, while others receive several shipments throughout the season.

    If the tree arrived soon after shipment, it stands a better chance of staying fresher longer, since it was cut more recently.

    What types of Christmas trees last the longest?

    According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Fraser fir is the best variety in terms of water uptake and needle retention, followed by balsam fir, Scotch pine, and Black Hills spruce (a variant of white spruce).

    Can you bring a dying Christmas tree back to life?

    The best way to revive a struggling Christmas tree is to give it more water. Always keep the bottom 2 inches of the trunk submerged in clean water, even if it means you have to refill the water reservoir in your tree stand daily.

    You can also keep a Christmas tree green and supple by lowering the thermostat in your home (the cooler air helps it stay fresher longer) or moving it away from a large window that gets direct sun all day. Since heat causes needles to dry out more quickly, try to avoid placing your tree too close to a fireplace, wood stove, or heating vent.

    Where to buy Christmas tree supplies and decorations

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    EGO Power+ 16-Inch Cordless Chainsaw | Corona RazorTooth Folding Pruning Saw | Krinner’s Tree Genie Deluxe | Wondershop LED Smooth Sphere Christmas String Lights | Wondershop LED Faceted Sphere Christmas String Lights | Wondershop LED C3 Multicolor String Lights | Wondershop LED Faceted Mini Christmas String Lights | Anthropologie Piper Tree Skirt | Anthropologie Asta Wool Tree Skirt | West Elm Felt Pom Pom Tree Skirt | West Elm Shorn White Sheepskin Tree Skirt | West Elm Open Weave Zig Zag Tree Collar | Anthropologie Birch Tree Collar | Anthropologie Rattan Tree Basket | West Elm Universal Tree Topper Holder | CB2 Burst Gold Christmas Tree Topper | Anthropologie Illuminated Capiz Star Tree Topper | Wondershop Lit Angel Gold Tree Topper | Wondershop LED Gold Star Tree Topper

    This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 5, 2018.


    10 ways to make your Christmas tree last longer

    Do you want to prolong the life of the New Year's beauty, but don't know how? Are you afraid that it will quickly crumble and yearn to avoid it? We will help in this difficult matter! Rostov's Notebook presents ten phenomenal recipes on how to save the life of a forest guest!

    Recipe number 1 - the main health!

    The "longevity" of the Christmas tree largely depends on its health. When choosing a New Year's beauty, you must first pay attention to her trunk. The best will be that tree, whose trunk will be thick and covered with needles, like branches. Then you should look at the spruce paws, they should grow on the trunk with minimal gaps. The elasticity of its branches will tell very eloquently about the good condition of the Christmas tree - they should bend, but not break and crumble as little as possible, pricklyness and dark green (but not yellowish!) The color of the needles, it is important that it was not very large. A young, healthy tree can also be identified by the specific smell of the forest. The preservation of the tips of the branches and especially the tops is very important. You should be especially careful when transporting the Christmas tree - you must first press the branches to the trunk and secure them with wide strings.

    Recipe number 2 - triple cologne and glycerin to the rescue!

    If you bought a Christmas tree in advance, then you should not keep it in a warm room for a long time. It would be better to leave the tree on the balcony wrapped in paper until you are ready to dress it up. When you finally bring the spruce into the heat, you first need to expose the trunk by 15-20 centimeters and put it for two hours in water that has been separated from chlorine. Then experts recommend dissolving 40 grams of sweet syrup, adding a teaspoon of fertilizer per liter of water and the same dose of fabric bleach, and then pouring in two tablespoons of triple cologne and a tablespoon of glycerin. It is best to change the solution after a week.

    Recipe No. 3 - aspirin also heals trees.

    In addition, if a pre-purchased Christmas tree was stored on the balcony for a long time, then bringing it into the room should not be immediately deployed. Let it sit warm for a while and warm up to at least room temperature. The trunk can be updated by cutting off the bark and making it even. And then the tree can be put in water with the addition of an aspirin tablet, a pinch of salt and a spoonful of sugar. Aspirin will prevent the development of putrefactive bacteria, and salt and sugar will provide nutrition. Water is added from time to time, the container should always be full.

    Recipe #4 - Tripod holder solves problems!

    A tripod holder for a Christmas tree is a very important thing and almost irreplaceable. The old Soviet crosspiece could also come in handy, but it severely injures the Christmas tree and only shortens its life. How to use the holder: 1. lower the end of the trunk without bark into the inside of the stand - a container with water (it is important that the water level in the vessel is always higher than the place where the bark was cut), 2. add 3-4 tablespoons of glycerin to it . You can replace the holder with a bucket or other deep vessel, but here it is important to give the tree stability.

    Recipe No. 5 - citric acid, gelatin and chalk: reliable protection of the Christmas tree.

    There are many options for maintaining the viability of the New Year's beauty. Another one is the creation of a nutrient solution. It is quite simple: in three liters of water you need to add about five grams of citric acid and gelatin, and an incomplete tablespoon of crushed chalk. As the water evaporates, it should be topped up to the desired level.

    Recipe number 6 - life-giving sandy moisture.

    In this case, it is better to buy a Christmas tree 2-3 days before the holiday. All this time it must be stored on a cold balcony. And then you buy a live Christmas tree and keep it on a cold balcony all this time. Then dissolve an aspirin tablet and 3-4 teaspoons of sugar in one liter of water. This solution is poured into a bucket of clean sand. The bare trunk must be completely covered with sand. It is important that the sand is always wet!

    Recipe number 7 - garden fertilizers will also help save the tree.

    The spruce trunk, cleared of bark, must be lowered into a bucket of water. But first you need to dissolve a teaspoon of garden fertilizer in it - urea. A day later, in the trunk of a forest beauty, you can make an incision and put a woolen fabric into it to heighten the effect.

    Recipe #8 - Spray the Branches!

    You can extend the life of the Christmas tree in simpler ways. It is advisable to spray spruce branches with water every day, but before that, be sure to turn off the garland from the outlet! This must be done to prevent fire.

    Recipe number 9 - do not hang heavy decorations on the Christmas tree!

    With Christmas decorations, you should also be as careful as possible. No need to try to fix heavy and bulky decorations on the branches. Otherwise, one side may outweigh the other and the spruce with all the decorations will simply collapse and the holiday will be ruined.

    Recipe number 10 - vinegar and hot water - something that is always at hand!

    And finally, one of the easiest ways and, perhaps, the most economical. All you need is vinegar and hot water. In this mixture, you need to put a tree. Boiling water will open the pores of the wood, and vinegar will protect against pests that live under the bark.

    Earlier, the children of Rostov had the opportunity to look at unique robots. The exposition is complemented by eight zones of virtual reality - diving to the bottom of the ocean, roller coasters and others. In addition, visitors are shown a theater of dancing robots and a Tesla coil lightning show.

    News on Notepad-Rostov-on-Don

    How to prolong the life of a Christmas tree?


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