Updated: Nov 13
Shopping for a fresh cut Christmas tree is lots of fun! And Marshall Grain has a great selection of fresh cut trees for you to choose from. While you're our enjoying the shopping experience, keep in mind these simple tips for keeping your tree as fresh as possible through the holiday season.
1. Give It A Fresh Cut
A dry tree will drop more needles, meaning more mess and more cleaning for you once it’s inside your home -- not to mention a more dangerous fire hazard. So the first and most important thing to do is give your tree a fresh cut.
When trees are cut, pitch oozes out and then dries, sealing the pores. By sawing the dried end off the base, you will re-open the pores, and the tree will be able to absorb water again.
Marshall Grain sales associates are trained to give your tree the fresh cut it needs before loading onto your vehicle. You’ll have plenty of time to get your tree home before the cut seals itself again — for most types of Christmas trees you have about six to eight hours to get them into water before the base dries out.
If you prefer to do it yourself, saw one or two inches off the bottom of the trunk. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and it also reduces the amount of water available to the tree. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake and will only weaken the trunk.
2. Water, Water, Water!
Watering your tree is critical. A fresh tree is like a sponge. It contains more weight in water than the tree itself weighs when it is dry. Your freshly-cut tree can consume a gallon of water in the first 24 hours! It will drink 65% of its water in the first week it is in the house. Get your tree into water as soon as possible after cutting.
If you’re not prepared to put your tree in its stand immediately, place it in a bucket of water and store it in a cool place until you are ready to bring it inside your home. Check the tree regularly to make sure it always has plenty of water. Do not let the water level go below the base of the tree. As long as it’s getting plenty of water, you can store it for several days until you are ready to place it in its stand. The temperature of the water doesn’t matter, as long as it’s wet!
3. Choose A Proper Stand
Displaying your tree in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining its freshness and minimizing needle loss. Keep in mind that the taller the tree, the thicker the trunk will be, so your stand needs to be wide enough and deep enough to support the height and weight of your tree. If you try to put your tree in a stand that is too small, it will be unstable and the reservoir will not hold enough water to keep the tree properly watered. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
As a general rule, your stand should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For example, if the stem is 4-inches in diameter, your reservoir needs to hold 4 quarts of water.
Make sure there is enough liquid in the stand to keep the tree trunk submerged in least one or two inches of water. With many stands, although there may be some water in the stand, it may not be enough to keep the tree submerged in water.
There are a variety of watering devices are available that can help you maintain a constant water level in the stand, however, nothing works as well as a visual inspection.
4. Check Your Tree Daily
Fill the tree stand with water and keep it filled. Never let the water level go below the tree’s base. Various recipes suggest adding aspirin, sugar or other supplements to the water to improve uptake, however, water is still the essential ingredient.
After the first week or so, your tree’s rate of water consumption will decline. You may also notice more needles dropping from the tree as well. This is normal and a sign that the tree is drying out. However, you should continue to keep it submerged in water until you are ready to remove it from your home.
5. Minimize Dehydration
When choosing where within your home to place your tree, try to keep it away from drafty areas, heater vents, fireplaces, direct sunlight, or other heat sources. The cooler you can keep your tree, the better.
Use LED lights or miniature lights to reduce drying of the tree. Make a careful inspection of them first. Never use lights that are worn, broken or have any exposed wiring. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed. Do not overload electrical circuits.
Whether you are the type who can’t wait to get rid of your tree, or one who prefers to wait until Easter, the secret to keeping it fresh for as long as possible is proper watering. And that comes down to monitoring your tree regularly.
To read more about Christmas Tree Care, visit these resources: