04December 12, 2019

I have written about this subject in the past, but oft-times some things bear repeating. I want to review with you the care of your Christmas tree.

It does appear that people are putting up their Christmas tree earlier each year. When I first started in the lawn and garden business back in 1974, people, on average, would put up their tree about the second weekend in December. Now, it would appear, that putting up the tree before or just after Thanksgiving is the norm for many people.

Now, I know that Thanksgiving was as late as it could be this year, but the trend of putting up the tree “early” has caught on. I don’t have an issue with that, but putting up the tree early just gives the tree more time to dry out before Christmas. On the oft chance that you haven’t put up your tree yet, let me run a few things by you that will help to make that tree last longer.

When you get your tree home, it is very important to cut about an inch off the bottom of the tree. Many tree places will put a “fresh” cut on the bottom of the tree. If you are going home and setting up the tree within a few hours, that cut should suffice. If you are going to put it up the next day or so, you really should put a fresh cut on the stump before you put the tree in the stand. The fresh cut allows the tree to take up water from the tree stand’s reservoir of water.

If you don’t put on a fresh cut, the cut will soon scab over and your tree will lose its ability to take up water. It is also very important to use a tree stand that will hold enough water in the reservoir. If you have a very small tree, you can use a small stand. But once you start with trees that are 6 feet or more in height, you need a stand that will hold at least a gallon of water. If you have a tree that is over 8 feet, you should have a stand that holds at least 2 gallons.

The bigger stands are expensive. But, you will be using it for many years, so the initial outlay is worth it. The reason for using a large capacity stand is because your tree will initially drink up a lot of water. On a large tree, the tree could easily take up a gallon of more of water each day the first few days. It is important to keep the cut on the trunk submerged in water all the time.

If the water level drops below the cut, the cut will seal itself off and the tree will stop taking up water. If this does happen, you would need to take the tree out of the stand, put a new cut on the bottom of the trunk and then get the tree back in the stand. I would suspect that if you had to do this, naughty words might be spoken and the elf on the shelf would report this transgression.

Initially, you should check the reservoir several times per day and top off the water level in the stand. After a few days, you may only have to check the water level once per day.

If you keep up with the filling of the reservoir, there still are a few things that can cause the tree to take up more water. The number one thing would be how high the temperature is in the room. Over the years, I have had people tell me that their tree always dries out quickly. After talking with them a few moments, it becomes clear that the tree is in a room with a wood stove or the tree is near a heating vent.

The heat and the drying of the air by a heat source can cause the tree to dry out no matter how diligent you are with keeping the stand full. For the health of your tree, cooler temperatures are best. The other thing that can cause your tree to appear to use more water is if you have a pet that likes to drink out of the stand.

Keeping a Christmas tree in a big enough stand and keeping the water reservoir full of water at all times will go a long way in keeping your tree fresh through the holidays.

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

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