Few things are more disappointing than watching your beautiful Christmas tree turn brown and lose its needles before Christmas even arrives. If this happens to you on an annual basis, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Many families struggle with keeping their Christmas trees fresh and green throughout the entire holiday season.
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Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks and hacks that can help you keep your Christmas tree vibrant and green for as long as possible. Don’t believe it? Try these suggestions and see for yourself how much longer your Christmas tree lasts this year.
Learn What a Fresh Tree Looks Like
One of the biggest problems families run into when Christmas tree shopping is being unable to differentiate between freshly cut trees and trees that were cut down several weeks prior. It is important for trees to be placed in water as soon as possible after being cut, which means that you don’t want to purchase a tree that has already been drying up in a lot for weeks at a time.
Of course, the best way to guarantee that our tree is fresh is by purchasing a license and cutting one down yourself. However, since many families don’t have the time to go on their own lengthy Christmas tree searches, here are two ways to ensure that you get a fresh tree from your local tree lot:
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• Ask a sales representative at the tree lot when their most recent shipment of trees came in. You might also want to ask them when their next shipment is due to come in, then come back on that day to ensure that you get the freshest tree possible.
• Don’t purchase a Christmas tree until you have performed a simple “pull test” to determine its freshness. Simply wrap your hands around one of the branches and attempt to pull the needles from the tree. If they fall of easily into your hand, then the tree is old and won’t last long.
Most sales representatives won’t mind if you ask them questions, and will understand your desire to get the freshest tree possible.
Choose a Hardy Tree
Not all Christmas trees are the same when it comes to longevity and hardiness. Generally speaking, firs tend to last longer than pines once they are cut. Firs are also quite beautiful and have a very distinct and pleasant aroma. If you prefer the look of pine trees, there is nothing wrong with purchasing one for your home. Just be sure to perform the “pull test” before making a selection.
Wrap Your Tree
Wrapping your tree in burlap or some other type of protective covering can prevent it from drying out in the harsh winter wind during the drive home.
Keep Away From Heat Sources
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when choosing where to set up their tree is completely overlooking heat sources. Try to place your tree far away from fireplaces and heating vents, since the dry air from these heat sources will quickly cause your tree to become brittle and brown. Even windows can expose your tree to too much light and heat if they are south-facing.
To keep your tree from drying out prematurely, place it in an area that is not exposed to too much warmth. Even lamps and large lights can dry your tree out if they are placed in close proximity to the delicate branches.
Cut the Tree Trunk
As soon as you bring your tree home, cut about an inch from the bottom of the trunk. Unlike flowers, you don’t want to cut at an angle, since that will cause the tree be crooked. Trees that have been sitting in a lot for a few days are likely to have clogged vascular systems at the bottoms of their trunks.
Image via Todays Mama
Since the vascular system is responsible for directing water up through the tree trunk, it is important to make sure it is working properly. Cutting off the exposed portion of the trunk will remove any clogs and uncover the fresh, healthy portion of the tree’s vascular system.
Water Your Tree Immediately
As soon as you have brought you tree home and cut off the bottom portion of the trunk, place it in water immediately. In order to keep your tree fresh, it is important to get water to its vascular system as soon as possible. It can be tiresome to check your tree stand on a regular basis to ensure that it is full of water, but it is important to do so if you want to keep your tree alive and green. Aim to keep your tree stand at least three-quarters of the way full at all times.
Some speculate that adding additives to your Christmas tree water can keep it fresh longer, but studies show that plain water works just as well as any additives.
These relatively simple steps can work wonders for keeping your tree alive and green for a longer period of time.