By Julie Tomascik
For many families, picking out the perfect Christmas tree is an annual tradition. But there are a few things you should keep in mind with your real Christmas tree to help keep it fresh through the holiday season.
Trim the trunk
Add a fresh cut across the bottom of the trunk. I know it seems odd since you just cut down the tree, but it’s necessary.
When the tree is first cut, sap rushes to close the gap and seal the bottom. That prevents the tree from absorbing the water. Adding a fresh cut at the bottom before you place it in water will help the tree take in the water and stay fresh through December.
It’s also recommended to put up the tree the same day you bring it home. But if you cant, you should store the tree in a cool place with water until you’re ready and able to set it up.
Buy a big enough stand
Make sure your tree stand is big enough for the tree and the water it will need.
Water, water, water
Always keep fresh-cut trees in water.
Don’t add sugar, Sprite or any other additives, according to longtime Christmas tree farmer Damian Prause.
He recommends watering trees twice a day, and even more often than that, in the beginning if you notice the tree drinking more water.
Choose an appropriate location
Location is key. Don’t place your tree in a window where it will get full sun. That will dry out the tree faster.
Also consider foot traffic and if any young or elderly family members or friends could trip and stumble over the tree.
Be cautious of heat sources
This goes back to location. Make sure your tree isn’t near a heater, fireplace or other heating and cooling sources. Those can dry out the tree or cause it to catch fire.
Check your lights
Before decking your tree, check your lights. Make sure there aren’t any exposed wires or missing bulbs. Smaller lights also produce less heat, which is beneficial with fresh cut trees.
Don’t leave your tree lit if you won’t be in the same room or at home with it. Real trees, especially if they are starting to dry, can catch fire. It’s important to follow general fire safety tips when you have a real Christmas tree indoors.
Check water levels daily
There’s the water thing again. Make sure you check the water level in your tree’s stand daily to ensure the water isn’t below the bottom of the trunk. If it becomes very dry, it can become a fire and safety hazard.
Meet a family who grows Christmas trees
At Old Time Christmas Tree Farm in Harris County, the holiday season is all about making memories. The Prause family grows holiday cheer each year on their farm by providing families an opportunity to choose-and-cut their own Christmas tree. Read more about their family here.
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