Tree Care

Welcoming Your Tree Home

         If you’re not immediately ready to set up and decorate your tree, leave it outdoors in a spot protected from wind and sun. When the time comes to set up your tree, make a fresh cut on the base – just saw off the bottom quarter inch of the trunk. This opens the tree stem so it can take up water properly. Then put it right into a stand filled with fresh water.

      Fresh-cut trees are very thirsty. Your tree will drink between two pints and a gallon of water a day, so it’s essential to have a water-bearing stand that can hold at least a gallon of water or more. Check the stand every day and add fresh water as needed.

      Remember, if you let the water level drop below the freshly cut base of the trunk, a new seal will form over the bottom and the tree will not be able to drink.

      Your tree will be happiest away from sources of heat like fireplaces, registers, radiators or baseboard heaters and away from the direct rays of the sun.

How to Care for Your Farm-Grown Fresh Christmas Tree

Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley

      When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your displayed trees. Below are a number of tips relating to the care of displayed trees:

  • Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.
  • Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
  • Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
  • To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
  • Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
  • Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
  • The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.
  • Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
  • Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
  • Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed. Do not overload electrical circuits.
  • Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
  • Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace. Please recycle your Christmas tree. It’s 100% recyclable