How to Keep a Christmas Tree Fresh

White Pine Christmas Tree

Whether you’ve put up your beautiful Christmas tree weeks in advance or just a few days prior to December 25, chances are you want to know how make this tree last and looking its best. Turns out you can reasonably keep a cut Christmas tree fresh for many weeks if you take a few extra steps to ensure its livelihood. And we’re going to tell you how to do it!

Before You Cut Your Christmas Tree:

It’s true that some trees are heartier than others when it comes to staying fresh over the course of a few weeks.

“Fir trees are a hearty tree and have many great qualities,” says John Hensler, a 40-year veteran tree grower and owner of Hensler Nursery. “They have a strong, lasting fragrance, sturdy needles, and with proper care has a good display life.”

Don’t let that keep you from selecting other favorites like the White Pine known for its soft needles making it a very child-friendly tree, or the vibrant Scotch Pine loved for its blue-green appearance.

Cutting Your Christmas Tree:

When selecting your tree to be cut, avoid trees with brown or dry needles. Make a clean cut. And just prior to placing the tree in the stand, make one more cut of ¼ to ½ inch.

“A fresh cut on the base should remove the naturally occurring sap that may have dried out at the base of the tree,” says John. “This will allow the tree to soak up water a little better.”

Inside Tip

There is no need to remove the bark at the base of the tree before placing the tree in the stand. Actually, the bark helps maintain moisture better than a bare stem.

Watering your Christmas Tree:

As you can probably expect, water is essential to a thriving tree. Make sure to get a cut tree in water as soon as possible. After that, water and water often.

A freshly-cut six-to-seven foot tree can take in over a quart of water a day. The water basin of the stand should be sufficiently large that the very bottom of the tree will always remain immersed in water.

“A tree can’t be overwatered,” John says. “The bigger problem would be if the tree dried up for even one day, the tree would no longer be able to take up additional water.”

Get A Quality Tree Stand:

Cinco Christmas Tree StandUsing a hefty tree stand goes a long way to ensuring not only stability of the tree, but helping the watering process.

“The best tree stands have a solid base and a large enough water bowl to keep the tree hydrated,” explains John.

The mechanisms for keeping the tree properly aligned need to be simple to use and adjust as needed. “We actually sell a stand with alignment screws that have a special feature so that the bolt will press lightly against the tree trunk and not screw into the tree,” he says.

Other Tips to Help Your Tree Last:

These tips might seem obvious but are often overlooked as we find space to showcase our beautiful tree. Keep them in mind when you bring your tree home and you’ll ensure longer-lasting freshness.

  • The best spot in the house for your tree is one that is away from a heat source like a radiator vent. A cool, comfortable room is best.
  • Keep the tree away from a window with direct, warming sunlight. You don’t want it to bake!
  • Before placing your lights on the tree hold them with the lights grouped together while turned on and feel the heat they create. The less heat the better.
  • Some people swear by adding a water additive like “Tree Life” to the water to help with needle retention. It doesn’t harm the tree and you can decide if it helps extend the life of your tree.