15December 9, 2015

It’s that time of the year when many people put up a fresh cut Christmas tree. There are many types of trees to chose when you buy a tree. The one thing that they all have in common is that they will last in your home if they are properly cared for. Let me tell you what to do.

When you have a cut tree in your home, the tree needs to take up water if it is to survive. The water helps to keep the needles hydrated and less likely to fall off the tree. The tree will need to go into a tree stand that holds water. The larger the tree stand, the more water it will hold. If your house is warmer or if you have a wood stove in the house, the tree will be exposed to dryer air, which causes the tree to take up more water. Tree stands are usually marked by how big a tree the stand will hold. A stand that is marked for holding up to a 10-foot tree will hold more water than a tree stand marked for holding a 6-foot tree. You may have a 6-foot tree but it can’t hurt to use a bigger tree stand for it’s larger water holding capacity.

You have your tree and you have your tree stand. Before you put the tree into the stand, it is important to have a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. This means that you need to cut about an inch off the bottom of the trunk of the tree. This fresh cut allows the conductive tissue in the trunk to take up water. Once a tree has been cut, the trunk will seal off that tissue to prevent water from being pulled out of the trunk by heat or wind. If you buy a tree, most tree sellers will put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. If you don’t plan on setting the tree into a tree stand within a few hours, you should keep the tree in a bucket of water when you get the tree home. Otherwise, you will need to put a fresh cut on the bottom of the trunk before you put the tree into your tree stand.

The most important information you will get from this weeks column is this. Once the tree is in the tree stand, it will take up a lot of water in the first few days. You have to diligent in checking the water level in the tree stand. If the water level drops below the bottom of the trunk, the tissue will seal itself off and the tree won’t take up water unless you put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. Think of all the bad words you will say if you have to take a fully decorated tree out of the stand and then figure out how to put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. In the first few days, you should check the water level at least twice a day. You should add warm water to the tree stand. There is something floating around social media about boiling water and then letting it cool for 5 minutes before adding the water to the stand. Have you ever boiled water and then let it sit for 5 minutes? Would you take your hand and put it into the water? You wouldn’t get me to put my hand in water that was boiling 5 minutes ago. What do you think it would do to your hand? The same thing it would do to the conductive tissue in the tree. Lukewarm water is best for adding to your tree stand. After a few days, the tree will begin to take up less water. This is normal. However, you need to be diligent about keeping the tree stand full of water for the entire time the tree is in the house.

Providing the proper environment for your tree and keeping the tree stand full of water will allow you to enjoy your tree for the longest possible time.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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