This blog is for all you folks who bought your Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and are now faced with the struggle of keeping it alive through the holiday season. This is also for all of you who are like me, and are just now getting around to that all-important purchase and want to make it last as long as possible. Here are a few tips to help keep your tree looking its best through the New Year:
- PICK THE RIGHT TREE: You want to start off on the right foot so tree selection is important. If you happen to live someplace where you can go to a tree farm and cut down your own Christmas tree, this is ideal. It means you will be getting the freshest tree possible. In Florida, this is not usually a possibility. If you are picking out your tree from a store or road-side tent be sure to find a tree that you like, stand it upright, and shake the tree a little bit. If a lot of needles fall off, that is probably not the freshest tree on the lot and it probably won’t make it through the season. Secondly, I know everyone wants to buy the largest tree that their budget will support but keep in mind that your house must support this tree as well. Buying a tree that has to bend to fit under the living room ceiling is probably not the best bet. You want the tree to have air circulating around it. This will also help to spread that ‘Christmas tree’ smell around the house.
- CUT THE BOTTOM: If you did not cut down your own tree, it is imperative that you do this next step. Before you leave the lot, make sure you cut an extra slice off the bottom of the tree trunk- about 1”. Most places will do this for you if you ask. When a tree is cut down (or any part of it is injured) it produces sap to seal the opening against disease and pests. In the case of your Christmas tree, the sap on the bottom (which begins to form after 3 hours of the tree being cut down) seals the truck and prevents the uptake of water.
- PUT IT UP RIGHT AWAY: If you don’t, that layer of sap will begin to form on the bottom again. At the very least, be sure to put it in a bucket of water until you are ready to put it up.
- USE WARM WATER: Instead of using cold water, heat water on the stove until it is hot but not boiling. Warm water will keep the sap from hardening at the base of the tree, therefore, allowing the trunk to uptake more water, which will keep your tree healthy looking longer.
- TREE PLACEMENT: Water retention is the most important element to tree longevity. Be sure to place your tree away from heaters, fireplaces, and direct sunlight. These remove moisture from the room and make the air drier, reducing the life of your tree.
If you did buy your tree several weeks ago are stuggling to keep it looking good, try watering it with warm to hot water to melt a little of the sap from the bottom. If you can cut an additional 1” off the bottom, you can do that as well, although it could be difficult with lights and ornaments on it already. Be sure it isn’t close to a heat source. You can also be sure to turn the lights off when you go to sleep and when no one is home (which is a good idea anyway for fire prevention purposes). This will limit the amount of heat exposure on the tree.
A word to the wise: We do NOT recommend spraying your tree with hairspray to keep the needles on. It only serves to make your tree a giant fire hazard, as hairspray is extremely flammable.
If you have any questions or would like a free estimate, please email us or call us at 407-935-9151! Merry Christmas, everybody!