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How to Keep Your Holiday Tree Fresh for Longer


While sales of artificial holiday trees are on the rise, approximately 30 million real holiday trees will be sold in the United States this year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Of course, holiday tree decorations and trees aren’t exactly cheap. So why not get your money’s worth and keep your holiday tree up for several weeks?

Decorated holiday tree

By following these tips you can keep your holiday tree fresh and green from the moment you purchase it until January 1st. Here are the best methods for keeping that pine or spruce tree nourished throughout December:

  • Pick a Fresh Tree – The first step may be the most important: select a holiday tree that was recently harvested to ensure freshness. The simplest way to guarantee a fresh tree is to cut a tree of your own from a local farm, or have one cut when you visit. Head to Local Harvest to track down organic tree farms in your area.
  • Ask Questions – If there are no farms in your area you may have to purchase a holiday tree from a store or nursery. Always inquire when the tree was harvested, and don’t be afraid to shop around. Test the needles – fresh trees should have flexible, vibrant needles. If the needles are dry and brittle the tree will not last through the holidays.
  • Make a Cut – If the tree you purchase was harvested over three hours beforehand sap will have sealed the tree base, preventing it from being able to absorb water efficiently. Ask the sales associate to cut about an inch of wood from the bottom of your tree so it can properly hydrate once in your home.
  • Bring a Tarp – Once you have your tree in your car you should promptly transport it to your home and set it up so it can be in contact with water. To prevent drying during the trip wrap the tree in a plastic tarp for the drive home. This will slow the drying process during the journey.
  • Keep It Watered – The key to keeping your holiday tree fresh is to keep the base filled with fresh filtered water. The base of the tree should always be submerged in water once you set it up; if the water level drops below the base then the tree will dry rapidly. Most trees absorb a quart of water per inch of the tree’s diameter every day, so fill up the base each morning.
  • Avoid Heat – Sources of heat and light, including your fireplace, a radiator, and the sunlight streaming in from your living room window will all dry out your holiday tree. Set up your tree in an area at least ten feet away from any heat sources. Consider installing a humidifier nearby to further slow the drying process.
  • Know When to Quit – If you follow these tips your tree shouldn’t be too dry by the year’s end. But don’t wait until February to discard your tree, or the dry needles will cover your floor during the process. Request details from your city’s sanitation department, as many will accept donated holiday trees to create mulch for city parks.

With this guide your family can proudly display a holiday tree that remains lively and fresh throughout the winter holiday season.

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