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Getting the Most out of Your Cut Christmas Tree

Written by Jeremy Cochran & Mikaela Rice

It’s that time of year again! Christmas songs play everywhere you go, brightly colored lights begin to light up the outside of houses, and the mad dash to figure out everyone’s gifts for the big day begins. It’s also time to choose your next Christmas tree! We’ve gathered some info and tips to help you get the most out of your cut Christmas tree this season.

When were the trees cut?

One of the most common questions we get here at the nursery is “When were the trees cut?”. We’re usually not privy to that information, but it seems most growers rarely cut before the first week of November and will try to cut them as close to Thanksgiving before shipping them out as possible.

What tree should I pick?

As far as selecting a tree goes, just pick something that looks good to you and will suit the needs of your family and home. Some are looking for that picture-perfect symmetry and others are looking for something with more personality. There’s no real right or wrong. Just make sure the tree color looks fresh and isn’t faded and that the trunk does not have any major splits. Remember, you can always ask an employee for help determining the freshness of the tree.

How do I keep my tree fresh?

Once you’ve picked your tree it’s time to think about what you need to do to keep it looking fresh as long as possible. If we cut the bottom of your tree for you, be sure to put it in water as soon as possible. We’ve read that within an hour is sufficient but we’ve also read that within 15 minutes the cut can start to close over. So just get it in water as quick as you can. This doesn’t mean you have to put your tree up in your home in the stand right away – a bucket with plenty of water in it outside or in the garage will keep your tree fresh until you’re ready to decorate. The cooler the storage space is, the better! We recommend cutting off at least 1-2” of the trunk just before you bring the tree inside. A fresh cut exposes new tissue that should be able to take up water more easily.

Do I need to water my tree?

Wherever your tree goes after the fresh cut, just make sure to keep a watchful eye on the water level as trees can take up large amounts of water each day, especially within the first week or so. A tree can take up as much as a quart of water per day for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a four-inch trunk can take up as much as a gallon of water a day. So make sure your stand is large enough to hold enough water for the size of your tree. And remember, plain tap water is best, but adding a product like Tree Life to the water will help keep the tree fresh. Don’t add aspirin, bleach, fertilizer, or anything else to the water.

Anything else I should keep in mind?

Keep your tree away from heat sources that may cause premature drying-out. Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, TV sets, or baseboard heat.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! Picking a Christmas tree should be a fun experience for everyone. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with a little more information to make you more confident about purchasing and taking care of your tree. And remember, we’re always here to help should you find you need it.

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