How to Get 4-5 Weeks Out of Your Natural Christmas Tree

Once you have a fresh cut at the bottom, place the tree in a pail of water if you aren’t going to put it up in a tree stand right away.

Keeping your Christmas tree fresh throughout the Holiday season means more natural fragrance, a green appearance that lasts longer, and fewer dropped needles.

Basic suggestions for a longer life of your Christmas tree:

  • pick well
  • trim the trunk bottom
  • water well
  • watch humidity
  • Pick well

Many trees are harvested weeks earlier. If you are buying a pre-cut one, ask the dealer how long their trees have been there, and add at least a week or two since it was harvested. If you calculate that it has been 3-4 weeks since it was cut, consider shopping elsewhere.

Inspect the tree by feeling its needles: they need to be flexible and firmly attached. If they're dry and brittle already, the tree won’t make it through the Holiday season. The fresher, the better. Quick test: lift the tree about 6“ (15 cm) and let the trunk bottom drop to the ground. If lots of needles fall off, the tree is not fresh.

Of course, the best way to ensure freshness and longevity is to cut your own tree at a local tree farm.

  • Trim an inch off the pre-cut tree

Once a tree is cut, sap leaks out, dries and seals the bare wood’s pores, which hinders water uptake. It only takes 3 hours for sap to seal the pores. So a pre-cut tree will have no ability to absorb water. What you need to do is cut an inch off the bottom of the trunk. You could ask the dealer to trim it for you, but most don’t offer this service. Cutting an inch will ensure that water can be absorbed. Some people will do one more thing, that is, drill a hole ¼ inch in diameter straight up the centre of the freshly cut end. This is sure to help with water uptake. 

  • Water well

Once you have a fresh cut at the bottom, place the tree in a pail of water if you aren’t going to put it up in a tree stand right away. That even goes for the farm tree that you cut yourself. The base of the tree should never dry out. A Christmas tree 4” (10 cm) in diameter will absorb about 4 litres a day. Make sure your stand can hold at least 4 litres of water. Once in the tree stand, top up the water every day. Some people use a funnel with a one-metre pipe or tube so they don’t have to bend over and crawl to get to the stand. Good idea!

Some people use additives such as commercially available tree preservatives, aspirin, sugar, corn syrup, cut flower pouches, etc. in the water to help preserve the tree’s freshness. Experts claim that such substances are not necessary, but they agree that they don’t harm the tree either.

  • Watch humidity

Evergreens prefer mild or cool weather and will drop their needles when the air gets too warm and dry. You’ll extend the longevity of your tree if you keep it away from hot air registers, radiators and the fireplace/wood stove. If you are decorating with electric lights, turn them off when you are not in the room, as lights create heat. If your house is low in humidity, as it is often the case in December, the tree might benefit from you placing a humidifier near it. Some people find that misting the tree once in a while helps with freshness.

Follow these suggestions and enjoy the Holiday season with a tree that stays in good shape throughout. Merry Christmas!


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