You finally have your farm-grown Christmas tree home and unloaded. Real trees take a few more steps to get ready for the holiday season.
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. The National Christmas Tree Association offers the following tips on caring for your farm grown tree:
1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.
2. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water-holding capacity for the tree. As a rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
3. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
4. Make a fresh cut to remove about a ½-inch-thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle or into a V-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand. It also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
5. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.
6. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
7. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
8. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
9. Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
10. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce the drying of the tree.
11. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house.
12. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
Source: National Christmas Tree Association