How to keep a douglas fir christmas tree alive
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.
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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.
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How to Care for Your Real Christmas Tree
Dec 20, 2019 | Christmas Trees
Nothing captures the feeling of the holiday season more than the fragrant scent of a real Christmas tree. Here at Hicks Nurseries, we offer the finest and freshest trees available. Our selection includes thousands of premium grade balsam, fraser and blue fir trees. Ensure that your real tree will last throughout the Christmas season by following these tips:
How to Care for Your Real Christmas Tree
Choose a Quality Tree
At Hicks Nurseries you will find a huge selection of premium grade trees to choose from including:
- Balsam Fir Live Christmas Trees have deep green soft needles. Known for its strong fragrance and shape, balsam fir trees are considered the classic Christmas tree.
- Fraser Fir Live Christmas Trees are often the most popular choice. Frasers are known for their excellent needle retention, strong branches and fragrance.
- Blue Fir Christmas Trees have a double needle look and a bluish-green color. They have good needle retention and a strong fragrance.
After purchasing your tree, one of our friendly sales associates will make a clean cut to the base of the tree, trim away stray branches and net and load the tree onto your vehicle at no charge.
What Else Do I Need?
If you do not own a fresh cut tree stand, now would be the time to purchase one. We have a great selection in-stock. Choose a real Christmas tree stand that holds a gallon of water or more. Also, purchase a tree removal bag which will help to protect your floors and make clean up easier at the end of the season.
Hicks Nurseries in Nassau County, NY has everything you need to decorate your tree for the holidays including Christmas ornaments, garlands, light sets, stars and angels, ornament hooks and extension cords.
Once You Arrive Home
Keep your Christmas tree in a sheltered, unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it from the wind and sun until you are ready to bring it indoors. Keep the trunk of the tree immersed in a bucket of water so that sap from the tree does not form over the cut stump and block the trees ability to absorb water. If it does, you’ll need to make a new cut prior to bringing the tree indoors.
Tree Set Up
Clear space in the room where you plan to display your Christmas tree. Spread the tree removal bag on the ground to protect floors and carpets from possible moisture. Then place your fresh cut tree stand on top of the bag. Bring the tree indoors and place it in the stand. Tighten the stands bolts and fill the base with water.
Watering Your Christmas Tree
In order to keep your Christmas tree fresh, it is very important to keep the tree stand filled with water. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if the water drops below the base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled. If a seal does form, another fresh cut will need to be made or the tree will begin to wilt and drop its needles.
A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and the boughs from drooping. Water also keeps the tree fragrant.
Add Prolong Tree Preservative to the water to keep the sap running and your tree looking fresher, longer.
Nothing compares with the fragrance of a real Christmas tree in your home during the holidays. Bring the entire family down to Hicks Nurseries in Westbury. Our entire team of sales associates is here to help you find everything you need to make the holidays merry and bright for your family this Christmas season.
How to keep a Christmas tree up to 5 weeks - AgroXXI
How long does a Christmas tree live and how to choose the freshest and most fragrant tree
If a few years ago everyone called for abandoning live Christmas trees in favor of artificial ones, now everything has changed exactly the opposite .
Buying live trees, according to climate change fighters, helps develop farms where Christmas trees are grown and thus help to contain carbon dioxide emissions.
So, if you decide to choose a living tree, you should answer questions from the very beginning.
Do you have time to take care of your Christmas tree and how do you plan to dispose of the tree? Do you have enough space for placement at home, since the branches of conifers can unfold within a few days after you bring a living decoration home?
As for how long your Christmas tree will last, with proper care, this period can be up to five weeks! Now for some helpful tips to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh longer.
First, note that when you buy your tree from a garden store or roadside lot, it likely came from another area and was exposed to drying winds during transport. If you want the freshest tree, look for a nearby farm that grows Christmas trees.
Next, choose a healthy green tree with the least amount of brown needles. Run your hands along several branches. The needles should be flexible and not fall off.
Lift the tree a few centimeters, then lightly hit the ground. Very few green needles should fall, but it's okay if the tree loses a few brown ones.
2. Cut the trunk
When buying a Christmas tree, make sure the seller makes a fresh cut right through the base of the trunk to help absorb water.
When you get home, cut another 3 cm to prevent resin clogging and place the tree on a sturdy stand that can hold at least 4 liters of water.
3. Top up with water
Don't forget to water your tree regularly - too little moisture can cause resin to form, which means the tree won't be able to absorb water and dry out quickly.
Despite what you've probably heard a lot of advice about adding bleach, corn syrup, aspirin and sugar to your water, no preservatives or additives are needed. Most experts agree that pure water is enough to keep the wood fresh. Just remember to check the water level daily - it should always cover the cut end of the trunk. Top up if necessary.
4. Keep away from battery
Lowering the temperature in the room can help slow down the drying process (and therefore the wood will need less water).
Therefore, keep away from heat sources, radiators, heaters, blowers, and so on.
Place a large room humidifier next to the tree, an easy way to extend the life of your Christmas tree.
5. Remove the tree before it dries
If you wait too long, you will end up dealing with a lot of needles, which are very, very painful to step on with your bare feet. Therefore, at the first sign of needlepad, say goodbye to the symbol of the main winter holiday.
Needles are most easily collected with a vacuum cleaner without attachments, and dried wood can be processed into mulch yourself (if you live in a rural area) or sent to recycling points in the city.
Not a Christmas tree, but a fir
Under the name "Christmas tree", fir trees are increasingly being sold today, which serve as an equally attractive decoration, and in some cases even surpass an ordinary Christmas tree.
In the house, fir trees last longer than spruce trees, as they are more heat-loving plants, and resin accumulates not in resin channels, but on the surface of the tree in special “pockets”.
Some say firs are better for hanging heavy homemade Christmas decorations because of their strong, inflexible branches, and there are also very fragrant varieties with good needle retention for less cleaning.
Balsam Fir brings the true smell of Christmas and is the most fragrant of Christmas trees.
The conical shape and dark green color of the tree is exactly what people expect from a winter holiday. Balsam fir holds its needles firmly to the last.
Douglas Fiers Fir is popular for its perfect pyramid shape and blue-green needles spread out in all directions, making the tree look luxurious and fluffy.
The biggest drawback is that this tree will immediately shed its needles if it doesn't get enough water.
Fraser Fir is the premium segment and the most expensive Christmas tree.
The needles are soft to the touch and last a long time, but at the same time the branches are stiff and large decorations can be attached to them. Pleasant coniferous aroma, long shelf life and easy cleaning.
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Life hack: how to keep a Christmas tree fresh for a long time
A live Christmas tree in the house creates a special festive atmosphere, the aroma of a winter forest and a freshly cut tree appears in the air. Plus, it is environmentally friendly: after the holidays, the jewelry can be recycled, and if you live outside the city, you can plant it on the site. The only negative is the fragility, because a cut tree needs care just like a bouquet of flowers. There are several ways to keep a live tree in a room for several weeks, or even a month.
The first step is to buy a good fresh tree. After all, if the tree has been cut for a long time, it will not stand in the house for a couple of days. There are several varieties that retain freshness longer when cut: balsam fir, Colorado Blue spruce, Douglas spruce, Scots pine, fir.
Before buying, inspect the tree: it should not have yellow needles. If such needles are caught, this is a sure sign that the tree has been cut for a long time. The same should be said about pests or traces that remain after processing from them - harmful substances and insects in your house are useless. Check with the seller where and when the trees were cut, ask for certificates - this will help you not only buy a fresh tree, but also avoid the support of scammers who cut down forests.
If the tree was cut a few weeks ago or it was brought from another city, it is worth passing by. Check the needles, they should be flexible and not break. And finally, the final “test”: raise the tree a little above the ground and shake it, knocking the trunk a little on the ground - if the needles fall off a lot, the tree is stale.
Refresh the cut
By analogy with the flowers from the store, which we cut when arranging them in vases at home, it is worth refreshing the cut of the Christmas tree. After the tree is cut down, the trunk hardens and stops passing water in sufficient quantities. In order for the tree to get enough moisture at your home and not drop the needles ahead of time, cut it yourself or ask the seller to cut a small piece of the trunk from below and put the tree in the water.
Spare no water
After bringing the Christmas tree home, place it in a bucket of water. Choose in advance a special stand with a deep water compartment in the store. Place the tree in water so that it covers 6-10 centimeters of the trunk. There is an opinion that a felled tree does not need water, but this is not true. The needles on the tree hold and retain their elastic shape longer, and the lifespan is directly proportional to the amount of water that the spruce receives.
Don't forget about feeding
Our grandparents also added sugar to the Christmas tree water. Scientifically, this feeding method has not been confirmed in any way, but in practice this method often works. In addition, you have nothing to lose - sweet water is absolutely non-toxic and harmless to the house and its inhabitants.
It is better, of course, to use products specially designed for wood. Add improved water every day, the tree is very actively absorbing moisture in the cut state, and every day you need to add a few centimeters of liquid to the stand.
Ventilate the room and humidify the air
Christmas trees do not like hot climates and dry air. Conifers prefer cool, moist air, like in a forest. Do not place a spruce next to a radiator, a fireplace, or just in a warm room - it will quickly shed its needles. Ventilate the room where the tree stands more often, and even better, turn on an additional air humidifier.