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Welcome to Day 63 of 100 Days of Debt Free DIY Holiday Ideas and Inspiration. Today is all about the proper care and treatment for your Christmas Tree.
We all want our fresh Christmas tree to last until New Year’s Day, but it doesn’t take much more than a few days of heat and neglect to dry out a fresh one and render it to the fire pit. With the proper care, your real Christmas tree can last five weeks or more! Here’s how to ensure your tree lasts all season long:
7 Rules To Keep A Christmas Tree Fresh
Choose a Healthy Tree With Little To No Brown Needles
The first thing you want to do is to visually look at the tree to determine how many brown needles you can see. Run your hands through a few branches. The needles should feel pliable and not fall off. Next, pick up the tree and raise it a few inches off the ground and drop it on its trunk. It’s ok if a few needles fall off but if you get a pile, move on to the next tree.
Wrap The Tree For The Ride Home
Once you’ve picked a tree, it’s important to wrap the tree for the trip home. Most Christmas trees travel to their owner’s home on top of a vehicle. Without a covering, the wind can dry out the tree. So cover it up for the ride home to protect it from damaging wind.
Recut The Stem
Most people don’t realize that a tree is essentially a big, giant flower. Unless you cut the tree yourself, chances are the tree has been cut and sitting on a lot for weeks. The system in which the tree draws water up into itself is essentially clogged. Cutting off just a ¼ inch of the bottom of the trunk will remove the clogs and open up the trees system. You can cut more off if you need to for height reasons but for purposes of watering a 1/4 will do the trick. There’s no special way to cut a tree. A simple straight cut is all that is needed. Drilling holes or cutting at angles will not improve how well the Christmas tree takes up water.
If You Don’t Put It Up Right Away
Store it in an unheated garage or area that’s protected from wind and freezing temperatures and place the tree in a bucket of warm water. When you do bring it inside you can cut the base again before placing it into its holder.
Water It And Then Water It Again
Too little water causes a sticky resin to form over the cut end of the trunk. Once that happens, the tree stops absorbing water and dries out quickly. Professionals tell me that additives in the water, like bleach, aspirin, and sugar, are not necessary to keep a tree fresh. They likely won’t hurt, but most experts agree that plenty of plain water is really all you need to keep a tree fresh. Check the Christmas tree stand twice a day as long as the tree is up. It is important that the stand stayed filled. A Christmas tree stand generally holds a rather small amount of water and a Christmas tree can quickly use up the water in the stand.
Location, Location, Location
Another important part of how to make a Christmas tree last longer is to choose a good location in your house. Place the tree away from heating vents or cold drafts. Constant heat or fluctuating temperatures can speed the drying out of a tree. Also avoid placing the tree in direct, strong sunlight. The sunlight can also make the tree fade faster. If your home is generally on the dry side, try running a humidifier to keep the tree alive longer.
Take It Down Before It Dries Out
If you wait too long, you’ll have lots more dead pine needles covering your floor. The easiest way to clean up fallen needles is with your vacuum’s hose. Skip the attachments and use just the end of the hose to draw needles directly into the bag or canister.
If your city or town participates in a tree recycling program, consider dropping off your tree to keep it out of landfills and repurpose it into mulch.
Using these 7 tips will ensure your Christmas Tree lasts all season long!