How to take care of a Christmas tree

Christmas trees are one of the season’s favorite traditions.

The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) states that there are approximately 25–30 million real Christmas trees sold each year in the US, and close to 350 million currently growing on Christmas tree farms.

When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half of its weight is water. To maintain a tree’s quality and appearance, keep it hydrated to avoid it drying out. However, there are other steps you can take to minimize needle loss and ensure the tree lasts through
the holiday season.

Buy a quality tree. It’s advisable to buy a freshly cut tree from a local nursery or cut one down yourself. Trees available at tree lots may have been cut down weeks prior and have already started to deteriorate. Some needle loss is to be expected but if the tree you’re considering loses many needles when shaken, search elsewhere.

Fit the stand to the tree. Rather than whittling down the trunk to fit the stand, choose a stand with an adequate reservoir to fit the trunk and water. Stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter.

Cut an inch or two off the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Be careful to cut perpendicular to the stem, not at an angle or v-shape. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in absorbing water and should not be removed.

Keep it cool. To prolong its life, place the tree away from a heat source. Avoid drafts from heating vents, radiators and fireplaces.

Consider a living tree. Living trees can be planted in the yard after the holiday, letting the beauty of the evergreen be enjoyed year-round. Select a tree that is hardy to your planting zone. Live trees often need to be transitioned from the outdoors to a garage and then into the house so they will not be shocked. Reverse this process when returning the tree to the outdoors. Do not keep the tree inside longer than 10 days.

Monitor any tree’s condition daily, keeping it watered regularly. Select lights that use low heat. Remove the tree if it has dried out to avoid a fire risk. Following these suggestions can help trees last the entire holiday season as they serve as the centerpiece of holiday decorations.

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