Christmas trees are the classic icon of the season. Picking one out, bringing it home, and decorating it are traditions for many families, and there’s a certain appeal to bringing a real tree into your home. In this article, we’ll look at how to care for a real Christmas tree, and what steps you can take to ensure it looks and smells great well past the big day.
How Long Do Christmas Trees Last?
First off, it’s important to understand how long you can keep a Christmas tree in your home. Even the best cared for tree won’t last forever.
In general, a healthy, well cared for tree will last for 4-5 weeks. This gives you some time of when to get your tree; most people tend to do it around the first 1-2 weeks of December. This is perfectly timed, and with good care the tree will survive into the new year.
Choosing a Good Tree
The first step always starts with choosing a healthy tree to begin with. Keep the following things in mind when selecting a tree.
- Look for one that’s full and green, the less brown the better.
- Choose one from a location that’s shaded and not in direct sun
- Run your hands through a few of the branches, they should feel firm and not brittle
- Keep an eye out for any major damage or areas that are less than full
If a tree satisfies all the above it’s likely in good shape and will last as described above.
Make a Cut
If left out of water for more than a few hours the sap from the tree will seal the trunk and prevent the plant from absorbing water. This is why most tree sellers will offer to cut the trunk for you so it can absorb water and stay healthy once you get it home. If they don’t, you’ll want to do so yourself, cut about an inch off the bottom of the trunk to open it up.
You’ll also have to do this if you plan to store the tree before putting it up and don’t do so in water. That’s why you should always keep your tree in water, to prevent this from happening between getting it home and setting it up. If you do store, keep the tree in a garage or basement that stays cool and is out of direct sunlight and wind.
Keep It Watered
Once your tree is set up, or in storage, you’ll need to keep it supplied with a healthy dose of water. For the first 1-2 weeks it’s normal for the tree to need extra water, up to a gallon per day. Make sure that you have a tree stand that can hold that much water, or be prepared to refill it frequently.
If left out of water, the trunk will form a resin, as noted above, that can prevent the tree from absorbing more water. This is why it’s so important to keep it watered consistently.
After that, the general rule of thumb is 1 quart of water per inch of trunk diameter. It’s a good habit to simply check your tree daily and refill its stand with fresh water. This will ensure that your tree always has enough water to stay healthy.
Keep It Away From Heat
Lastly, it’s also important to keep your tree away from any sources of heat. This can cause the tree to dry out too quickly, and can also lead to a risk of fire.
Be mindful of things like heaters or furnace vents, and ensure that your plant is placed several feet away from them.
How To Care For a Real Christmas Tree
Nothing beats the fresh scent that a healthy Christmas tree brings into your home, and having one is a classic part of Christmas. They’re quite easy to care for, and just require a little diligence with water. For those looking for a lower maintenance option there’s no issues with going with an artificial tree. This brings the beauty of a tree without the need for care, including the dreaded clean up at the end!
Whichever option you choose, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays from everyone at The Indoor Gardens!