How to set up live christmas tree

Tips for success with your first real Christmas tree

Consider these tips for relieving the stress of buying and setting up your farm-grown Christmas tree this holiday season.

The scent of a real Christmas tree in the house, the allure of a family outing to select a real tree and the appeal of buying local are among the reasons people buy real Christmas trees. For some, especially people who grew up in households with an artificial tree, buying and setting up a real tree may seem like daunting task. With a little planning, however, having a real tree can add a fun and enjoyable family experience to the holidays. For those that have never had a real Christmas tree in their homes for the holidays, Michigan State University Extension provides these tips to simplify the process.

Where to put your tree

Before buying your tree, decide where in your home you are going to display the tree. Keep the tree away from direct heat sources such as fireplaces or furnace vents because these may cause the tree to use more water and dry faster. Having an electrical outlet near the tree will eliminate the need to run unsightly extension cords to the tree. Double-check there is adequate floor space for the height of tree you want to display. The taper (ratio of tree width to height) of real trees varies, but is usually around two to three. This means you need a space 4-feet wide for a 6-foot tall tree.

Finally, and most importantly, measure the height of your ceiling. Trees usually appear smaller outdoors than they do inside, so measure your tree rather than relying on the “eyeball test” when picking out your tree at a tree lot or choose-and-cut farm.

Real Christmas tree options: Pre-cut versus choose-and-cut

Consumers can buy trees already cut at a tree lot or they can cut their own at a choose-and-cut farm. Common options for buying pre-cut trees include big box stores and supermarkets, garden centers and freestanding tree lots. Pre-cut trees at box stores or supermarkets offer the convenience of buying trees while doing other shopping. Buying at garden centers or stand-alone tree lots supports local businesses or, in some cases, charitable groups such as scout troops or churches.

Pre-cut trees are usually grown on large farms that specialize in wholesale production, are harvested and then shipped to retail outlets. Choose-and-cut farms are usually smaller tree farms where consumers can wander fields, find their tree and cut the tree with saws provided by the farm. Many choose-and-cut farms also provide family-themed agritainment, such as hay wagon rides, petting zoos, bonfires, gift shops and hot chocolate or cider stands.

Read “Choosing the right Christmas tree” and "Christmas trees for connoisseurs: Try an exotic species this year" by MSU Extension for help in choosing the right Christmas tree for you and your family.


Want to find a Christmas tree farm near you? Visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website to see choose-and cut-farms, retail lots and wholesale farms in your area.

Making sure your tree is fresh

To keep your tree fresh and hydrated, follow the guidelines in “3 easy steps to make your real Christmas tree last this holiday season” from MSU Extension. If you cut your own tree at a choose-and-cut farm, you know the tree is fresh. If you can’t put the tree up in your house right away, store in a garage or other unheated space with the cut end in a bucket of water until you are ready to display it in your house.

For pre-cut trees, do the pull test. Gently pull on the end of the branch with your thumb and forefinger. Fresh trees should hold onto all their needles. If a tree loses needles when you do the pull test, keep looking.


Setting up your tree in a stand

For many people, the most stress-inducing step of having a real Christmas tree is putting the tree in a stand and getting it to stand straight. A simple way around this issue is using a drill stand. Many tree lots, choose-and cut-farms and retail lots will drill trees with specially-designed drills that match the pin in the stand, ensuring trees stand upright and straight.

For traditional, screw-in stands, recognize that this is a two-person job. Place the stand on the bottom of the tree before standing the tree up. The best plan of attack is to have one person adjust the tightening screws on the stand while the second person adjusts the tree and checks for straightness.

Pin- or spike-type stands can make tree set-up easier. Photo by Wahmhoff Farms.Tree farm attendants drill for the base of a tree for a pin-type tree stand. Photo by Mutch Hidden Pines Tree Farm.

For all types of tree stands, keep the baling twine on the tree until the tree is in the stand and upright. This keeps the tree compact and easier to handle as you bring it in the house and get it situated in the stand.

Take-down tips

Consider these tips in order to reduce the mess of getting a tree out of the house after the holidays. Use a turkey baster or a large sponge to transfer any water remaining in the tree stand to a bucket or plastic container. To reduce the amount of needles lost while taking the tree out, lay a bedsheet on the floor and gently lay the tree down on it. Wrap the sheet around the tree to collect any loose needles they may come off while taking the tree out of the house.

Recycling: The last step

Recycle your tree at the end of the holidays. Some communities have curbside tree pick-up for recycling and many others have central drop-off points. Check your local paper or community websites for recycling options in your area.

For more tips on recycling and interactive maps of choose-and-cut and retail lots in Michigan, visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.

More information on selecting and caring for your Christmas tree from

MSU Extension
  • Choosing the right Christmas tree
  • Christmas trees for connoisseurs: Try an exotic species this year
  • Living Christmas trees: Another real tree option
  • 3 easy steps to make your real Christmas tree last this holiday season
  • Why is my Christmas tree beginning to grow?
Tip sheets:
  • Michigan Christmas Trees

Dr. Cregg's work is funded in part by MSU's AgBioResearch.

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

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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.

    View full post on Youtube

    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.

    Related Stories
    • 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.

    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.

    Self-installation of a live Christmas tree

    Installing Christmas trees in a stand.

    If your choice is stopped on a cut live Christmas tree, then you will definitely need to install it in a special stand or use the "old-fashioned" methods (a bucket of sand, etc.). A reliable, modern Christmas tree stand is much more convenient and reliable.

    If you don't have a stand, choose one from our online store.

    In the assortment of our online store, Christmas tree stands are presented in several options - you can choose the one that suits you in color, size and type of attachment. Employees of the Yolki. Ru online store will advise which stand is suitable for your Christmas tree, and also offer professional installation services.

    How to install a Christmas tree yourself?

    If the height of the fluffy beauty does not exceed 2 meters, then you can install the Christmas tree alone. The installation of a tall three-meter Danish or Russian Christmas tree requires the coordinated work of at least two physically strong men: the weight of a spruce tree of such a height can reach 30 kg. What can we say about taller trees!

    Therefore, it is very important to firmly fix the live Christmas tree in a reliable stand. The best option is a stand with mounts that allow you to fix the tree trunk from three or four sides. The bottom of modern Christmas tree stands is additionally equipped with a fixing pin, which increases the strength of the Christmas tree attachment and the stability of the entire structure.

    If you have ever bought live Christmas trees at street Christmas markets, then you probably remember how you were recommended to hold a Christmas tree on a balcony or landing. It is impossible to bring a live Christmas tree into a warm room right away, because due to a sharp temperature drop, the needles of a live Christmas tree can quickly crumble.

    The advantage of our company is that live Christmas trees are stored not in an open Christmas market, but in a warehouse with a constant temperature of at least -5°C. We deliver Christmas trees in closed vans, thus eliminating temperature fluctuations during the transportation of the Christmas tree.

    So the living Christmas tree was delivered in the best possible way. You can start installation.

    Remove the live Christmas tree from its packaging and tap it on the floor to loosen the dried needles. Don't be afraid of the amount! Christmas trees in the process of growth constantly renew their needles, so every year the spruce sheds a fairly large number of them. During transportation, the tree is in the net, so the needles ready for dumping simply remain inside and spill out when the tree is unpacked.

    It is better to put a live Christmas tree away from the battery. Before installation, you need to saw off the lower part of the trunk of a live Christmas tree (about 2-3 cm). You can also remove the bark from the lower 5-10 cm of the trunk.

    The base can be filled with sand or water. You can make a special solution: put a teaspoon of sugar and one aspirin in water, or add a special remedy, which can also be purchased from us. Water should be added to the stand periodically, as the plant drinks; sand must be constantly wet.

    Planting a Christmas tree in a pot

    Christmas trees in pots do not require a stand, as they come to the client in a technological pot with earth, which already holds the Christmas tree in an upright position. However, the native pot of the New Year's beauty has a number of disadvantages.

    Since the live potted Christmas trees sold in our store are grown in pots and not transplanted into them, the container in which they will arrive at your home will have a rather unpresentable appearance - in fact, it is a black, plastic technological pot with holes in the bottom for watering. In addition, the powerful root system of conifers often breaks through the walls of their house, creating holes and deforming the shape of the tub.

    In order for the Christmas tree in a pot to decorate your New Year's holidays, you will need to put it in an additional planter of a suitable size and shape. You can buy such a decorative pot in our online store, in any garden center, or use a simple household bucket of a suitable size.

    The method of aligning the Christmas tree in the decorative planter depends on what you plan to do with the tree in the future.

    If your plans include further planting the Christmas tree in the ground, then it is better not to disturb the root system that extends beyond the pot. In this case, the Christmas tree must be strengthened with the help of improvised means - slats, foam plastic or other non-soaking materials.

    A Christmas tree that will not move to the site after the holidays can be leveled by filing "extra" roots.

    Order a set of services

    If you think that all the above manipulations are too complicated, or you just want the tree to be installed securely and professionally, order the installation service when buying a tree. The cost of such services can be found here.

    how to choose, install and keep longer

    What will help to raise the New Year's mood? Of course, a living Christmas tree that will give you a joyful feeling of a holiday, warm memories and expectation of a miracle! Every adult is in a hurry to please their children.

    In order for a festive tree to bring a lot of joy, you need to know how to choose the right live Christmas tree for the holiday. And then it will remain fresh for the duration of all the New Year's festivities. Read on to learn how to choose, put, keep a fresh living beauty at home!


    • 1 Things to know when choosing a live Christmas tree
    • 2 Best time and place to buy
    • 3 How to bring a beauty home
    • 4 What to do after you bring her home
    • 5 How to install a Christmas tree
    • 6 How to keep a living tree for a long time
    • 7 How to dispose of it after the holidays

    What you need to know when choosing a live Christmas tree it takes a little effort and care. There are certain criteria for choosing a New Year's beauty, read about all this below.

    First of all, shortly before you go to the store or market to buy a tree and choose a live Christmas tree, decide where exactly it will stand:

    • in the middle of the room it would be preferable to choose spruce symmetrical and chic from all sides;
    • but if you put it in corner , then one-sided will do.

    We recommend that you first determine the floor-to-ceiling height of your home in order to select a live Christmas tree of the appropriate height. Usually buy spruce 1.5-2 meters long . The height of the festive prickly attribute is not measured at all from the very top, but from the beginning of the first branches . Also, think in advance how you will put it: in a pot of sand, a bucket of water or a cross.

    Interesting to know! The very first Christmas tree was placed in the French outback Alsace in 1600 and was decorated with roses made of bright paper.

    Useful tips and advice on how to choose a live Christmas tree for the New Year:

    • We advise you to buy it during the day in order to notice all the flaws in the tree.
    • Arriving at the store, you should find out - when the tree was cut down, carefully examine the branches - the needles should not fall out. Shake the trunk to see the number of fallen needles. A few needles, of course, will fall to the ground (if more falls, this should alert).
    • Fresh spruce has needles of bright green, brilliant color. Spruce needles should be odorous and oily (feel them to check).
    • Dry needles without the characteristic smell of needles will tell you that the tree is damaged, frostbite.

    • You can check the freshness of spruce by bending a branch. Flexible, elastic branches will indicate the good condition of the tree, and vice versa, hard, dry branches will indicate that the tree is old and will not last long.
    • It is not uncommon for vendors to process live fir trees for longer storage. How not to fall for the trick? Just sniff it if you smell a strange smell (perhaps pungent and nasty) - of course, you should not take such a spruce.
    • There is an opinion that it is more correct to choose a live Christmas tree with a thicker trunk, because this indicates its condition. A thick trunk is considered a size of 7-8 centimeters in girth.
    • Inspect the cut wood, do not choose the option with dark stripes on the cut or with mold. Mold and mildew can make their way into your home, so it's especially important to pay attention to this. The presence of resin on the cut is mandatory, a large amount of resin indicates a recent cut of the tree. At the same time, at home, you need to make a new cut of the festive tree, excess resin will interfere with absorbing water.
    • Carefully inspect the spruce - the lower branches should stick up.

    Optimal time and place to buy

    It is better to buy live New Year tree 5-7 days before the holiday , as the spruce can be kept fresh for 2-4 weeks.

    It is advisable to buy a Christmas tree in a forest nursery or in the market - they are grown specially for the New Year, and therefore you will certainly not be an accomplice in illegal felling of young coniferous trees.

    Need to use special mesh or fabric to wrap the Christmas tree after purchase . To do this, carefully bend the branches from top to bottom, wrap them with a net and secure it all with a rope so as not to break the branches on the road.

    It is desirable to drag the New Year's miracle with the barrel forward to avoid damage. But to bring it into the house, on the contrary - forward with the top.

    How to bring a beauty home

    So, you have chosen the perfect Christmas tree for the New Year! But how to bring her home so that she does not “lose” all her beauty along the way?

    The most convenient way of transportation after purchase is by car. You can bring a Christmas tree by car like this:

    • In the trunk . But the space in the trunk is quite limited, so this option is only suitable if the tree is very small.

    • Box . If the Christmas tree does not fit in the trunk, then you just need to fold the rear seats and carefully place it.
    • Trailer is the easiest and most convenient way to transport a holiday tree, but not everyone has a trailer.
    • On the roof . The best transportation option, especially if a roof rack is installed on the roof of the car - you only need to secure the winter beauty and that's it.

    If there is no trunk, then you need to put a dense fabric on the roof, if there are roof rails - tie them to them, if not, then you can pass the ropes through the slightly lowered rear doors.

    In order to bring a live Christmas tree home and not harm either the car or the tree, , you should consider the following recommendations:

    • Before loading the Christmas tree onto or into the car, carefully tie it with a rope (so that the branches do not break off and it becomes more compact).
    • It is advisable to wrap the tree with a bag/polyethylene/cloth. This is necessary in order not to scratch the car and not stain the interior.
    • When transporting, handle the New Year's tree very carefully.

    There is another interesting transportation option - on a sled . It is suitable for those who live near the points of sale.

    What to do after you brought it home

    It is not recommended to bring a live Christmas tree into the house immediately after purchase, it does not tolerate a large temperature difference, a large number of needles may even fall off, because of which it will seem rare and ugly.

    Leave the Christmas tree in the entrance or hallway of a private house for 30-40 minutes , during which time the tree will adapt to your temperature regime.

    How to properly install a Christmas tree

    It is considered the most correct and optimal option - to fix a live Christmas tree at home in a bucket of sand . Many people simply put it on a cross and wrap it with a damp cloth. It is better, of course, to choose the option with a bucket of sand, it will be more reliable, and the tree will last longer.

    To install a live Christmas tree in a bucket of sand, you need to do the following manipulations:

    1. Just clean the bottom of the trunk from branches (about 15-20 cm) and chop off the bark. The safest way to do this is with a special knife or hatchet.
    2. The trunk is dipped deep into the bucket, the sand is tamped and the Christmas tree is leveled vertically, along the way, placing stones or bricks in the sand bucket. This will help to secure it well at home.
    3. The stand can be decorated with beautiful fabric or bright paper.
    4. Further, in order to beautifully install a live Christmas tree in the apartment, you need to cover the space on which it will stand with bright wrapping paper, cloth. Now crumbling needles will not fall to the floor and clog into cracks, similarly, the needles will be carried around the house to a lesser extent.
    5. And if you have a small child, then at the end you need to cut off the lower branches so that the child does not manage to get hurt by needles.

    This simple option will help you to install a live Christmas tree at home without a stand and keep it for a longer period. Convenient for both a private house and an apartment.

    How to keep a living tree for a long time

    Even after the New Year holidays it is pleasant to admire a living Christmas tree in a room of an apartment or a private house. It perfectly decorates and enlivens any interior. But how long does a live Christmas tree last at home? It can stand in excellent condition for about 2-3 weeks. To prolong the "life" of the festive tree and delay the yellowing and shedding of needles, you can use some tricks.

    By following these recommendations, you will be able to keep a live Christmas tree at home longer:

    • In order for the tree to stand longer and the needles not to fall off, water the sand with cold water with a spoonful of sugar dissolved in it and a teaspoon of salt . Experienced people advise to add a tablet of ordinary aspirin to water or use warm water and a few drops of acetic or citric acid . This will help keep the live Christmas tree in excellent condition until the New Year and until the end of the holidays.
    • If you use sand, sometimes the sand needs to be watered several times .
    • She does not like dry air, for this reason the room should be provided with air humidifier or every day spray branches with water from a spray bottle. They will help you properly care for a living Christmas tree for the New Year.
    • With a simple wet cloth it is also possible to put up a live Christmas tree. Simply wrap the barrel with it and fix it in the crosspiece. The only one, do not forget to wet the rag sometimes, otherwise it will start to crumble.
    • To help prolong the freshness of a live Christmas tree, you can put it away from heaters and stoves .
    • Do not use candles and homemade electric garlands to decorate it.

    By following these simple recommendations, you can easily keep a living beauty at home.

    How to dispose after the holidays

    Unfortunately, sooner or later the Christmas tree will start to dry up and crumble. Do not forget that it must be properly disposed of.

    It is necessary to prepare for the release in advance, because most often, when disassembling and disposing of a tree, it is impossible not to litter with crumbling dried needles. To avoid this, it is necessary to carefully remove the dried tree so that needles do not have to be picked up throughout the house and in the entrance.

    Here's how to properly dispose of your Christmas tree:

    1. put on mittens and long sleeves;
    2. cut the branches as close to the trunk as possible and carefully fold them into large bags;
    3. now you only have a bare trunk left, you can throw it in the trash without worrying that you will litter your apartment or entrance.

      Learn more