How to keep needles on christmas tree
How to Stop Needles from Falling Off Your Christmas Tree | Davey Blog
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Stitched stockings hanging from the mantel add charm. Twinkling lights brighten up the room. The Christmas tree wows with its scent, ornaments and... brown needles?
No matter what Christmas decor you choose, brown tree needles don’t fit in. Even worse, when live Christmas tree needles fall off, it makes your tree look sparse and creates quite the mess.
You don’t have to let a declining tree dim your holiday season. Here’s what to do about a Christmas tree with brown needles that litter the floor.How do you keep a Christmas tree from drying out, dying or dropping needles?
Making sure your tree stays fresh starts well before you set it up.
- Pick a Christmas tree that’s less likely to drop needles.
We recommend choosing firs while avoiding spruces. Spruces are notorious for dropping needles. Pines are in the middle. They drop some needles, but not a ton.
- Select a fresh tree to lessen the chance of needle drop.
- Best: A Christmas tree with a root ball is much less likely to shed needles because it’s still living.
- Better: If you can, opt to cut down your own tree at a Christmas tree farm.
- Good: If you buy a pre-cut tree, give it a hearty shake to make sure the needles don’t fly off. Its problems will only get worse when you get home.
- Help your tree drink more water.
- If you don’t plan to set the tree up the same day you get it, put it in a bucket of water. Then, store in a cool, dry place away from cold temperatures and harsh sun.
- When it’s time to set up, cut an inch or so off the bottom of the trunk before putting in its stand.
Naturally, your Christmas tree will drop a few needles here and there before the holidays are over. But to prevent massive needle drop, keep your tree hydrated and away from heat and drafts.
Your tree stand should always have water in it. You don’t want the basin to run out of water because the tree may seal its base with sap, which drastically reduces its ability to absorb water. Be sure to fill your tree stand daily to make sure that doesn’t happen. No need to add any preservatives to the water.
- While you might like to be warm and toasty in winter, your live Christmas tree doesn’t! Keep it away from any heating vents, fireplaces, radiators or windows that bring in a lot of sunlight.
- You can even opt for smaller or LED lights on the tree. Since they produce less heat, there’s less chance of them drying out the tree.
If cared for using the tips above, your Christmas tree should look good for up to five weeks or so.
But all live Christmas trees have an expiration date, which can come sooner if your tree doesn’t get enough water.
Sorry to say that once your tree starts browning, you can’t bring back the green. You can make sure the tree lives on by recycling it to spruce up your home or help your community.Want new life from your Christmas tree? Try propagating!
PRINT OR DOWNLOAD
- Christmas Tree Care
Related Blog Posts
Plant Health Care
Live Christmas Tree Roundup: How to Select & Care for a Live Christmas Tree
There’s nothing more nostalgic than bringing a live evergreen tree into your home for the holidays. Let’s talk about the different types of live Christmas trees and how to care for them to ensure a holly jolly season for you and your family and friends.
Christmas Tree Care
Cat Proof Christmas Tree Ideas and Tips
It is possible to cat proof your Christmas tree this year! Check out these tips and ideas on how to make your Christmas tree pet-friendly and stop your cat from climbing it.
Back to our Blog
Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips!
Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.
Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!
Sign Up Now
Get In Touch With Us!
We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.
How To Prevent Christmas Tree Needles Drop Off
In Short there are two main ways to combat the Christmas tree "needle drop" problem;
- Use a few tips and tricks on a tree you have already have, to prevent the needles from dropping / falling off, see list below;
- Buy a Live Christmas tree that is more resilient to needle drop, types and names of trees are listed in this article
Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Needles
- The number 1 most absolute important thing you can do is to keep watering your tree! Do not let it dry out! Check twice a day!
- Use distilled water in your tree stand or bucket. This water is better for the tree than tap water or well water, which may contain chemicals that speed up needle drop such as Chlorine and Fluoride. Remember to check twice a day and keep the container full. Average consumption is about a pint of water a day during the first week.
- When buying your Christmas tree, choose carefully. Pick a tree that is locally grown (or the closest to your location), rather than one from far away. The tees may be freshly cut if from a local grower. Those trees that have traveled along way may have been cut days ago, and are already adding time to how long the tree will last anyway. See below on how to check for sure.
- Check the trees needles before you buy, shake the tree manually or have it mechanically shaken at the vendor. If green needles come off easily then the tree has been cut quite a while ago and has lost most of its moisture and won’t last very long. The shaking of the tree also cleans it, by removing any insects, bug eggs or trash that might have gathered in the tree. Look at the base where it was cut, the lighter the color the fresher the tree.
- Choose a type of live Christmas tree that has a longer needle retention time after cutting, see the list of resilient Christmas tree types and names for needle drop. Generally the Norway spruce has the quickest needle drop rate of all popular Christmas trees. Other popular Christmas trees such as the Noble fir, Nordmann fir, and Fraser fir have excellent needle retention and holding.
- The main reason the Christmas tree needles drop is because the tree looses moisture internally and needles dry out, so avoid activities that excel the drying process. Such activities include;
- Transporting the tree home from the store where it may get exposed to wind. The wind will dry out the tree quickly. Transport the tree inside a vehicle or enclosed trailer. If these are not available, then have the seller wrap the tree to protect it from the wind.
- Keep the tree in a cool place with the trunk in water for as long as possible, until needed inside. Any kind of heat will speed up the moisture loss through the trees needles (Transpiration).
- Avoid setting the tree up in a place where it receives a lot of direct sunlight, this will add heat to the tree internally, causing moisture loss. Lots of sunlight will also cause the tree to Photosynthesize more, this process uses water through Transpiration (Water evaporating through the trees needles).
- Placing the tree near any other sources of heat such as fires, radiators, floor heat vents etc.
Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree needles
- As soon as you get the tree home, cut off about an inch of wood off the trunk and put it in a bucket or your tree stand with water. This cutting action re-opens the tiny tubes (Xylem vessels) inside the wood that transport water throughout the tree, enabling the tree to keep somewhat artificially hydrated longer.
- When you set up the tree in its final place, make sure it has a container that can hold at least half a gallon of water. Check it daily and keep it full. (Average consumption is about a pint of water a day during the first week.) Do not let the container dry out, otherwise the tree trunk will seal itself off from the air and stop absorbing any new water. If this does happen, then you will have to cut about 1 inch off the trunk to re-open the tubes inside the wood that transport water. This may be impossible if the tree is already decorated, so try drilling at least 3 holes that are at least half and inch to 1 inch deep into the wood that would be below the water line.
- Buy Christmas tree needle spray, it can be used to help retain the needles longer. The spray covers the tree needles with a film which seals the surface and prevents the tree losing moisture through its needles (Transpiration). Follow the directions on the product as to when and how to apply, as they all different.
- Do not remove any bark from the trunk above the cut. Any additional bark lost above the cut line will result in the tree trying to heal itself, using more water.
- Avoid using warm or hot lights when decorating the tree. Generally these warm or hot Christmas tree lights are the old incandescent ones, buy and use the newer LED Christmas tree lights which hardly emit any heat at all.
Remember to water the tree every day, and keep the container full of water. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent needle drop!
- List of needle drop resilient Christmas tree types
- List of all Christmas tree species names and types with pictures
Christmas tree - how to save needles? How to choose fresh spruce. How to care. Tips — Botanichka
Each of us, buying a natural Christmas tree, thinks about whether it is necessary to take care of it and how to do it? I think many are faced with the fact that the needles on the New Year's beauty begin to fall off very quickly. Is it possible to deal with this? Let's try to take care of the green New Year queen!How to keep the needles and the freshness of the Christmas tree. © Kate McKenna
How to choose the right Christmas tree?
You have decided to put up a traditional Christmas tree for the holiday - not artificial, but the most real one, and you would like it to stand until the Old New Year, that is, at least two weeks. How to achieve this? First of all, you need to choose the right tree.
The dimensions of the Christmas tree must match the dimensions of the room where it will stand. The tree should be “fresh”, because dry in two or three days it will begin to crumble. On a fresh Christmas tree, the branches are elastic, it is not easy to break them off, while on a dry one they easily break off with a characteristic crack. In order not to break off the branches on the way home, it is best to wrap the Christmas tree with burlap and tie it with a rope.
Arriving at the Christmas tree market and pulling out what you like from a pile of branches, cones and needles, you need to intentionally hit the butt (that is, the lower part of the trunk, which was once a single whole with the stump remaining in the forest) on the ground. If after that needles fell on the ground, then you can safely put this tree in its place. If the test was successful, we begin to inspect the trunk for mold, fungi and other harmful coniferous diseases on it.
As a rule, Christmas trees for sale are cut down on time, after reaching the age of eight, and in this case, with a tree height of one and a half meters, five kilograms are considered normal, and seven is better. A very thin trunk is a sign of illness. In a healthy tree, the trunk in girth should be at least 6 centimeters, if it branches, then it's okay, so the tree looks even more fluffy.
Fresh spruce has a bright green color. Lightly rub the needles between your fingers: if the tree is fresh, you can feel a slight oiliness and a fragrant smell of pine needles. If there is no smell, and the needles are dry to the touch, it means that something is wrong with the tree, most likely it has frostbite.Moisturizing the Christmas tree to save the needles. © thoughtco
Installing the Christmas tree
If the Christmas tree is purchased in advance, it is better to keep it in the cold before the holiday itself: on the street or on an unheated balcony. However, even if the Christmas tree was bought directly on December 31, then it is impossible to immediately bring it into a warm room, install and decorate it: from such a temperature difference, the Christmas tree can get sick and die. If the frost on the street is below 10 degrees, do not carry the Christmas tree immediately to the apartment. Let her stand in the stairwell for 30 minutes to thaw.
Before installing the Christmas tree, it is necessary to remove the bark from the trunk by 8-10 cm and chisel it with a sharp knife (to open fresh pores), it is advisable to do this under running water.
There are many ways to set up the tree:
1. Bucket of sand
The ideal way to set up the tree is a bucket of clean, damp sand. A liter of water is added to a bucket of sand, in which a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) of glycerin is previously dissolved. Another option - as for garden flowers - is an aspirin tablet.
Some advise adding a small amount of a suitable liquid fertilizer along with the water. It is better to install a Christmas tree in the sand in such a way that the lower part of the trunk is closed by at least 20 centimeters. Sand needs to be watered in 1-2 days.
2. Water tank
The water at the time of installation must be warm and contain acid - acetic or citric. An acidic environment can be replaced with aspirin tablets. Another recipe: add half a teaspoon of citric acid, a spoonful of gelatin and a little crushed chalk to the water.
3. Wrapping the stem
And, finally, the simplest option, but far from ideal: wrap the stem at the cut point with a damp cloth that needs to be moistened periodically. Then strengthen the tree in a cross, on a stand, or in some other way. Spruce sprigs can be sprayed from time to time with a spray bottle - thereby the tree will retain freshness longer.Glycerin for preserving needles on the Christmas tree
Following these simple rules, you can prolong your New Year mood! Take care of the Christmas tree and it will answer you with the wonderful aroma of its needles and a long life in your apartment!
Have you bought a Christmas tree in a tub? See our material: How to save a Christmas tree for the garden?
Happy New Year!
How to keep your 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 stem
- Caring for the tree after installation
- Potted Christmas trees
- 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 intake 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 care 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.