Nothing quite beats having a real Christmas tree, but unlike fake ones, we have to keep them alive! We’ve previously written a blog post on What Christmas Tree is Right for You that you should check out if you’re struggling to decide on the species of tree that you want to welcome into your home this year.
Keeping our trees alive can be difficult, and trust us, we’ve had a few years where our trees haven’t even lasted past the mid-December mark!
Here are our five steps on how to keep your tree alive and fresher for longer.
1. It all begins with choosing your tree…
Surprisingly, yes, it does. Before you’ve even got your tree home, you could be at a disadvantage, so it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Firstly, if you can (and where possible) try and choose a freshly cut tree. If you’re going to your local garden centre or Christmas tree farm where trees have been pre-packaged or cut, then you need to make sure you choose the freshest ones. This is because the longer they’ve been cut and sitting there, the less time you’ll have to enjoy their beauty.
Or, even better, you could visit your local Christmas Tree farm where you can cut down your own!
2. Getting it home...
Once you’ve chosen your tree, you should ensure one thing before you take it home.
Quite often, when buying pre-cut trees, you can have the option of getting it ‘netted’ which helps retain needles on the drive home. However, if you choose not to have it netted, or the choice isn’t available, you should make sure that you bring along a sheet to cover your tree in. This prevents the tree from excess needle loss but also helps to prevent your tree from drying out on your way home (especially if you strap it to the roof of your car!).
3. Before you go inside...
After your tree is bought home, it is important that you don’t forget to do one crucial step.
Because, out of convenience and occasionally being cheaper, we buy pre-cut trees, the pores of our tree’s bases tend to close up. This then makes it harder for them to absorb water and therefore not live as long. To stop this from happening, cut anything between a ¼ inch to a couple of inches off of the base of your tree to re-open the pores, increasing the absorbancy.
It is also important that once your tree is home and before you take it inside that you allow it to have an adjustment period where it can adjust to a warmer temperature. If you have a garage, shed or conservatory then these would be good places to keep them.
4. Once its up…
Once your tree is up, it is also ideal to allow it time to ‘drop’ and adjust after being wrapped up. Ideally, if you can wait to decorate your tree, you should leave it for a day or so.
You should ‘put up’ your Christmas tree away from any sources of direct heat or sunlight. I.E. Keep them away from radiators, heaters, ovens and other heat sources as this can dry up the leaves/needles and use up water quicker. The colder an environment is for your tree, the better. Keeping them out of direct sunlight also helps to reduce needles lightening and retain the deep green foliage.
Additionally, you should also make sure that your tree stand is ALWAYS filled up with water and that the water does not go below the base of the tree. Depending on how fresh your tree is, some trees can drink up to 2 gallons of water a day!
5. Once the festivities are over…
Once the joy of Christmas is over, and you begin to pack away the excitement for another year (some of us may be more willing to do this than others!) its time to think about what to do with our trees. The quickest, simplest and probably most favoured solution is to either burn them (along with copious amounts of wrapping paper and empty tubes) or to take them down to the tip. However, some local councils do run a chipping service for old trees so they can be recycled.
Due to Christmas trees being coniferous, this makes their wood unfavourable for housefires and wood burners. It is strongly advised that you DO NOT use your Christmas tree for this purpose.
Conversely, if you opted for a container-grown tree this year then comes the task of re-climatising your tree outside.
Ideally, if you have followed the suggested steps and your tree is in a good and healthy condition, then this should be reasonably straight forward. Like with how you introduced the tree into your home, you should similarly allow the tree an ‘adjustment’ period to climatise to a colder environment before going back outside. Ideally, if you have a conservatory, garage or shed, this may be the best place to do this. Your trees can then readjust to colder temperatures and will have less of a shock having to adjust into going straight outside.
Move your tree outside and place it in your garden where there is shade and is predominantly cooler; this will give your tree the best chance in surviving as they a typically grown in colder climates.
Hopefully, these steps/quick tips can help your Christmas tree stay alive for longer!
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