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How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Alive for Longer

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shutterstock_160091426Buying a real Christmas tree for the holiday season is a tradition still favoured by a lot of people. Sometimes an artificial tree simply won’t do. However, with buying a real Christmas tree comes the problem of the tree perhaps not making it to Christmas Day, let alone the New Year. Here are some great tips to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh and alive for longer:

  • Before purchasing your tree, it’s important to find one that looks as fresh as possible. You may be able to keep your tree fresher for longer, but only if you do not purchase a tree that is already starting to get old. The best way to test if a tree is fresh is to gently pull on one of its branches and watch how many needles fall off. A tree that is already drying out will lose more than just a couple of needles. The same can be done by seeing how many needles drop when the tree is given a gentle shake. It’s also worth remembering that a fresh tree will have a strong, distinctive smell. Follow your nose and pick a tree that has a great smell.
  • If you buy a tree with no root system, keeping it alive will be hard but not impossible. When you first bring your tree home, it is important to cut the end of the tree off at the bottom where the roots would be. Steeping this end into warm water for a few days will enable your tree to ‘drink’ up the water and feel replenished. The trunk can still absorb water regardless of whether its roots are still attached or not. A Christmas tree is therefore often treated like cut flowers. After a few days of the trunk sitting in a bucket of water outside in the shade, bring the tree inside to its new water reservoir. Check every day that there is sufficient water, and top it up if needed.
  • Another option is to purchase a potted Christmas tree that has its roots intact, as they may last long after Christmas and New Years Day. These trees can be looked after and either planted into the ground to become a part of the landscape, or kept in their pot to become next year’s Christmas tree. The best advice for these kinds of trees is to limit their time indoors and have them inside only if really needed, for a maximum of three weeks.
  • When indoors, do not place these trees near heat sources, and avoid wrapping lights around them as the lights can provide just enough heat to damage the tree. If not having lights is not an option, then try and use the cooler LED lights, and keep usage at a minimum. When it comes to planting these trees in the ground, ensure you meet the soil and moisture requirements to keep the tree alive for longer and continue its growth.
  • For trees that have no roots, keep them in a pot with at least three litres of water. After bringing the tree indoors, you may find that it will drink the whole three litres in a day. If so, re-fill the container with warm water, ensuring to never let the water level go below the cut of the trunk. If you find this has happened, make a fresh cut in the tree, as sap will start to form on the base of the tree and prevent it from soaking up water.

If you follow these steps, your rootless Christmas trees should last up to five weeks, and potted ones up to a year, or longer if planted into the ground. Just ensure that you purchase the freshest tree possible, and limit the heat expelled around it (including from televisions). Remember, water is the key to keeping your tree in good condition throughout the Christmas season.

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