Some people like to put up their Christmas tree early in the holiday season, and leave it up past New Year’s. The longer you intend to keep your tree up, the more meticulous you have to be about caring for it properly. If a tree is allowed to dry out, it loses its fragrance, develops brown spots, and loses its needles more rapidly, creating not only a mess but a fire hazard. Keep your Christmas tree good and healthy, and it’ll last as long as you need it to.
Cut Your Own Tree
Ensuring your Christmas tree stays green and fresh looking begins before you ever get it home, with the decision of what kind of tree to get.
Pre-cut trees are not a bad choice, but trees you cut down yourself have a decided edge. You have to remember that the pre-cut tree has already been dead for as much as several weeks. If you buy it from a reputable retailer it should be in acceptable shape, but it can’t be as fresh as one you cut down on the spot.
If you do get a pre-cut tree, make a clean cut across the base of the trunk, taking off about an inch from the bottom.
Put Your Tree in Water as Soon as Possible
A Christmas tree can start to form sap over the bark in as little as three or four hours after it is cut down, which prevents it from being able to absorb water. So you need to get it home and get it in water.
Use a Large Enough Stand
A Christmas tree can absorb as much as a gallon of water in 24 hours. Use a stand with a large enough capacity that it can absorb that much water and the water level will still fully cover its cut end.
Keep Sufficient Water in the Stand
Water is by far the most important thing your tree needs. Check the water level regularly in the stand. Don’t wait until the tree shows signs of drying out; just keep it in water continuously. Some folks add sugar, aspirin, or a commercial Christmas tree preservative to the water and swear by the results, but some tree experts contend that does little or nothing.
Protect Your Tree From the Elements
If a Christmas tree is exposed to heat or wind it will dry out faster and not last as long (not to mention the fire risk of being near the heat). So do not set up your tree too close to a fireplace, radiator, or other heat source. Keep it away from open windows or drafty areas.
Heloise, “For a Long-Lasting Christmas Tree.” Good Housekeeping.
“How Can I Make My Christmas Tree Live Longer?” Wise Geek.
“How to Make Your Tree Last Longer.” Do It Yourself.