Deck the halls and trim the tree, but wait – there’s a secret to keeping that Christmas spruce as jolly as Santa himself! It’s all about the hydration game. Think of your tree as a giant, festive flower and the water in its stand as the magical potion that keeps the holiday spirit alive. Here’s the lowdown on ensuring your Christmas Tree stays refreshed and fabulous from when it graces your living room until the New Year’s ball drops.
Ensure your Christmas tree stand is sturdy.
Invest in a durable stand holding at least a gallon of water. Ensure it’s appropriately sized for your tree to prevent any holiday mishaps. Pro tip: If it wobbles, shimmy some cardboard or a small piece of wood under one side of the stand for stability.
Place the tree in a shaded area.
If you need to wait before setting up your tree, place the tree in a shaded area with the trunk in a bucket of water. Recut the base for fresh wood exposure when ready to set it up. Hack: Add a pinch of sugar to the water bucket to boost your tree’s energy.
Cut a straight 1/2″ disc off the base of the trunk.
Use a sharp saw for a clean cut. Avoid V-shapes or angles, as they make the tree unstable. Hack: Recruit a friend to assist – one holds the tree steady while the other does the cutting.
Avoid setting up your tree near a heat source.
Keep it away from direct sunlight, radiators, fireplaces, or even the warmth of your TV. Hack: Embrace the cozy vibe by lowering the room temperature and making it a perfect excuse to wear that ugly Christmas sweater.
Use room temperature tap water for daily watering.
Check the water level daily, especially in the first week. After Christmas, if the water uptake slows down, add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the water for an extra dose of freshness.
Skip antitranspirants, preservatives, and water-holding gels.
Your tree craves clean water. Save money on these additives; a well-hydrated tree doesn’t need them. Hack: Use the leftover funds for extra ornaments or festive snacks. If you want to get creative, make a DIY ornament with the family instead of wasting time on unnecessary additives.
Opt for LED Christmas lights, not fire retardants.
Do not spray fire retardants because they can damage the needles. Hack: If you’re concerned about fire safety, opt for LED lights, which emit less heat than traditional ones, making your tree safer and shinier.
Choose a water-absorbent tree variety.
Some tree species, like Fraser fir or Scotch pine, absorb water more efficiently. Do some research before purchasing to ensure a longer-lasting, hydrated holiday centerpiece. Hack: Ask your local tree farm or supplier for recommendations on the best water-loving varieties.
Create a DIY humidity tray.
Place a shallow tray filled with water near the tree. As the water evaporates, it creates a micro-environment of humidity, helping slow down the tree’s drying process. Hack: Add a few drops of your favorite holiday-scented essential oil to the water for an extra festive touch.
Wrap the tree during transportation.
If you’re bringing home a tree from a distant location, cover it with a plastic or damp cloth during transport to prevent the cut end from drying out before setup. Hack: Secure the covering with bungee cords or ropes to keep it in place – a little extra effort for a much fresher tree.
Rotate the tree periodically.
Ensure all sides of the tree receive equal exposure to your home’s festivities. Rotate the tree every few days to prevent one side from drying out faster than the others. Hack: Make it a fun family tradition – take turns turning the tree while reminiscing about your favorite holiday memories.
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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa’s work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.