Watering a christmas tree

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Water is essential to keep any real Christmas tree lush and fresh, but how much does a tree really drink? Understanding the tree’s needs and how to keep it from drying out can ensure you have a beautiful, full, radiant tree for the entire holiday season.

Why Christmas Trees Need Water

Without fresh water, both cut and potted trees will gradually dry out and become brittle, dropping their needles and drooping their branches. A well-watered tree is much more fragrant with that fresh piney scent, and will hold its needles longer. The needles will be more pliable, and the tree will stay full for longer. A well-watered tree is also less of a fire risk, making watering the tree a critical part of Christmas safety.

How Much Water a Tree Needs

The amount of water an individual tree needs depends on several factors, including…

  • Size: Larger, fuller trees naturally need more water to reach the tips of every branch, while smaller trees can be watered less frequently.
  • Species: Different tree species have different watering needs and thirst levels. The longer a tree’s needles, the more water it will generally need.
  • Freshness: A fresher tree may be thirsty at first, but needs less water to retain its beauty than a tree that has already begun to dry out.
  • Climate: Where the tree is kept will impact its watering needs. If the house is warmer with less humidity, the tree will need more water.
  • Location: Trees that are kept near vents or drafts will dry out more quickly and will need greater quantities of water to stay fresh.

Keeping Your Christmas Tree Watered

A Christmas tree can drink several quarts of water in a day, and to keep your tree from getting too thirsty…

  • Use a Generous Stand
    The tree stand should be able to hold plenty of water – at least a gallon or more. Avoid shallow, small stands that will empty more quickly. Be sure the stand is level and firmly situated so it will not tip, spill or leak.
  • Cut the Trunk
    Before putting the tree into the stand, cut one-half inch or more off the trunk with a straight, level cut. This exposes vessels so the tree can take up water more easily. After the cut is made, the tree should be put in water as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t Whittle the Trunk
    Do not carve away at the sides of the trunk believing that will help water uptake. The most vigorous vessels carrying water to the tree are closest to the trunk, and if they are carved away, the tree will remain thirsty. If the tree is too big to fit in the stand without whittling, buy a larger stand rather than forcing the trunk to fit.
  • Avoid Additives
    Old wives’ tales advocate adding lemon juice, sugar or other ingredients to the tree’s water, but they won’t help it stay fresh longer or take up more water. Plain, fresh, clean water is best, and plenty of it.
  • Keep Pets Away
    Curious pets will naturally investigate a Christmas tree, and both cats and dogs may take a drink from a tree stand. This takes water away from the tree and isn’t healthy for the pets, so be sure they keep away from the tree’s water.
  • Check Water Levels Frequently
    Trees can drink a lot of water, and their drinking needs can change from day to day. Check the water level in the tree’s stand at least twice a day – in the morning and evening – or more frequently if possible, topping it off whenever needed.
  • Cool the Room Off
    Help the tree stay fresh and firm by cooling the room off, and it will not lose as much moisture to evaporation or respiration. Close furnace vents near the Christmas tree, and lower the room’s temperature for a few degrees at night.
  • Use LED Lights
    LED lights or other low-heat lights are the best choice to keep a Christmas tree moisturized, since warmer lights will heat up the tree and cause water to evaporate more quickly from its needles. Fewer lights or turning the lights on less frequently or for shorter periods can also help.

It’s easy to take steps to be sure your Christmas tree is getting enough water, and once you understand the tree’s moisture needs, you can enjoy a lush, full, fresh tree all season long.

Christmas Tree Care Information

Christmas Trees are similar to cut flowers. They have a remarkable ability to absorb water by capillary action through their bark. Cut flowers behave in a similar way by drawing water up through their stems.

Prepare the Christmas tree trunk

We do this to all our real trees so you don’t have to! Just before you install your Christmas tree, saw off the bottom 1” (3cm) of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut. The real tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action.

They need routine

Do not expose your Christmas tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees like most people are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.

Keep it away from any heat sources

Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your real Christmas tree faster, so the further away from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.

Water your Real Christmas tree

Place your fresh tree in plain water – not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially designed Christmas tree stand. Many precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas Tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones! All stands are not created equal, and we strongly recommend the Cinco stands which can be used on trees up to 12ft tall.

Then keep on watering it!

Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day, depending on its size and your central heating settings. This is very important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will re-seal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re-fill the Christmas tree stand.
Also be aware that dogs often favour the tree stand as a convenient watering hole.
Be Aware that these trees are natural living things, and once they are cut they begin to die, sad as this is apart from artificial trees we are still without a solution to this simple fact of life. Time the arrival of your Christmas tree with this in mind to increase longevity and get the most out of it.
For More information Please see FAQ’s.

If you’re one of the nearly 30 million households who will be getting a live Christmas tree this year, it’s important to keep the tree fresh throughout the entire holiday season. A fresh tree not only smells nicer than a dry, brittle tree, but it’ll also drop fewer needles, remain greener longer, and pose much less of a fire hazard.

Here are some simple steps to ensure your tannenbaum doesn’t become a tannen-bummer. (A tannenbaum, by the way, is a fir tree.)

First, Some Things You Might Need

M18 Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Milwaukee $125.98

For bigger trees (with a stem six inches or larger), you’re going to want some serious power and no other saw beats Milwaukee’s Sawzall.

25-Inch Bypass Lopper Fiskars $43.53

There’s nothing like a really powerful lopper to take off lower branches once you get the tree home and for yard projects through all four seasons.

Hook Driver Milescraft $9.96

After you use this eye screwdriver to tighten the screws on your Christmas tree stand, you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without it all these years.

Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine Creekwood Naturals $29.99

Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned turpentine for cleaning pine-tree sap off your Christmas tree tools.

30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw Bahco $27.49

Don’t forget the standard bow saw. It’s an inexpensive tool that gets the job done and can take down a tree up to six inches in diameter in no time.

Sport Sled Terrain $42.74

If you’re hauling a large tree and maybe a little kid, too, over the snow, use a sled.

Cool Mist Humidifier Honeywell $62.99

This evaporative humidifier offers the best performance and easiest maintenance.

Tree Genie Christmas Tree Stand Krinner $88.86

Unlike other stands that use bolts to secure the trunk, this stand has a ratcheting foot pedal that controls the five claws to clamp your tree in place.

How to Shop for a Christmas Tree

The most important step is to buy the freshest tree possible. Many Christmas trees are harvested weeks in advance and shipped great distances to local markets. If you’re buying a pre-cut tree from a nursery, retail store, church group, or scout troop, ask how recently the trees were harvested and where they came from.

If the trees were cut more than three or four weeks ago, shop elsewhere. Be sure to inspect the tree by feeling its needles, which should be flexible and firmly attached. Avoid any tree with dry and brittle needles.

Here’s another good indicator of freshness: Lift the tree several inches off the ground and firmly bang it on the ground. If a shower of needles drops off, keep looking.

Of course, the very best way to ensure your tree is fresh is to cut your own from a local tree farm. According to Mark Derowitsch, a spokesman for the Arbor Day Foundation,

“A cut-your-own tree guarantees freshness, and by going to a local farm you know it’s going to be sustainable, so trees will be replanted, and it’ll be a selective harvest.” And if you buy from a local farm, you’ll also preserve local jobs and open space, and cut down on shipping costs—not to mention the carbon emissions of long-distance truck transport.

💡 If you have a choice of Christmas tree farms, choose an organic tree farm, which doesn’t use pesticides or chemicals.

Handling Your Tree

Once you’ve selected your live tree, it’s important take care of it immediately. Tchukki Andersen, a staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association, suggests wrapping it in a plastic tarp to protect it on the journey home. If you bought a pre-cut tree, use a handsaw or chainsaw to make a fresh cut across the bottom of the trunk, removing about an inch or so of wood.

That’s important because once a tree is cut, sap leaks out, dries and seals the wood’s pores, greatly hindering its ability to absorb water. According to Andersen, it takes less than three hours for sap to seal the pores. You can trim the tree’s trunk as soon as you get home or, if you live reasonably close to where you purchased the tree, you can ask the dealer to cut it for you.

💡 To further enhance the tree’s ability to soak up water, drill a ¼-inch-diameter hole straight up the center of the fresh-cut end.

Watering Your Tree

Getty Images

Immediately upon getting the tree home, be sure to put it in water. Either set the tree into its stand or place it in a bucket of water if you’re not going to decorate it right away. The base of the cut tree should never dry out, in order to keep the needles fresh, so be sure to check the water level every day. In fact, a recent University of Wisconsin study confirms that watering works.

💡 A Christmas tree typically absorbs about one quart of water for each inch of its diameter. So, a tree with a 4-inch-diameter trunk will soak up a gallon of water every day.

To Feed or Not to Feed?

Andersen points out that some people swear by commercial Christmas tree preservatives, which can be mixed into the water in the stand. Others have said that they’ve had success by mixing a tablespoon of corn syrup or sugar into the water as a food source for the tree. Some people even add aspirin to the water.

However, the jury is still out on additives with some experts arguing that such substances are unnecessary.

Tree Location

When setting up a Christmas tree in your home, follow these simple rules to ensure the tree stays fresh:

  • Keep the tree well away from heat sources, including heat registers, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and south-facing windows, as these will speed up the drying process.
  • Use a digital hygrometer to check relative humidity in the room with the tree. The ideal wintertime humidity should be around 40 percent. If the room is too dry, use a room humidifier to add a little moisture to the air. That’ll keep the tree fresher longer.
  • Be sure any lights you put on the tree are in good working order and are specifically designed for decorating Christmas trees. New LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights are very affordable, long-lasting, highly energy efficient, and they stay cool, so they reduce the risk of fire.
  • This may seem obvious, but never place an open flame anywhere near the tree. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas tree fires cause four deaths, 15 injuries, and over $12 million worth of property damage each year.

Tree Cleanup and Recycling

Lucy von HeldGetty Images

Once the holiday season is over and you’re done with your tree, don’t just drag it to the curb where it’ll end up in some landfill. Instead, recycle it!

Most cities now have programs that collect Christmas trees and grind them into mulch, which is then available for free to homeowners. Or, rent a chipper/shredder and grind your tree into mulch, which you can then spread over flowerbeds, gardens, and around trees.

💡 A chipper/shredder rents for about $80 to $100 per day, but you can offset that cost by splitting it with several neighbors.

Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening

There is nothing quite like a real Christmas tree. But the cut tree slowly dries out and we want to preserve them as long as possible. Lots of additives have been suggested to keep your tree fresh including commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey and fertilizer. Which of these work the best?

Christmas tree water

Christmas Tree Water

The short answer is that none of these products work. Testing has shown that none of these additives work better than just plain old water. Each of the references below will confirm that fact.

There are things you can do to keep a tree fresh longer.

1) Make a fresh cut just before you put the tree in its stand. An old cut seals the pores in the wood and the tree stops sucking up water. A fresh cut fixes the problem.

2) Do not cut any of the bark off to make it fit the stand. The xylem, which is the part of the tree that is responsible for sucking up water, is located just below the bark. If you damage it, or remove it, the tree can’t get any water.

3) Don’t let the tree dry out. If it does, the cut at the bottom of the tree will seal off the xylem and prevent water from being sucked up.

4) Keep the tree away from fire places, heat vents and other warm areas.

The new products being sold to keep your Christmas tree fresh are a waste of money. Don’t be duped by the advertising.

Christmas Tree Fire

This video will show why it is so important to keep your tree hydrated. This is a demonstration showing how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. This test was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories.

If the above video does not play try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNjO3wZDVlA

Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

When you try to keep cut flowers fresh it is recommended that you add a preservative to the water. Why is there a difference between trees and flowers?

Linda Chalker-Scott explains it this way. “Flowers produce callose, which is a gummy carbohydrate that plugs up cut edges and reduces water uptake. Adding acidic materials to the water keeps callose from sealing off the xylem. Woody plants, like Christmas trees, don’t produce callose.” So the xylem in trees stays open as long as the cut does not dry out.

Keep adding a preservative to your flowers, but don’t add anything to keep Christmas trees fresh.

Potted Christmas Tree

Is a potted Christmas tree a good idea?

It sounds like a great idea. Instead of killing a tree just for a nice Christmas, you can plant it in your garden after Christmas and enjoy it for many years. The problem is that evergreens need a cool period during the winter to grow properly and they don’t like to come into your warm home for 6 weeks. If you’re willing to have the tree in your home for only 2 weeks and you have a place to plant it in spring, buying a potted Christmas tree is a good option. For more information on this see reference 3.

1) National Christmas Tree Association: http://www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/AllAboutTrees/FAQs.aspx

4) Photo Source: Eat Read Sleep

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“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches,” goes the traditional German carol. But are those branches real or fake? Conscious consumers may wonder which type of Christmas tree — real or artificial — is better for the environment. And if the branches are real, how do you keep them fresh for the entire holiday season?

The real vs. fake argument will likely not be settled any time soon. Americans apparently prefer to go natural. They purchased 27.4 million real trees in 2016, and 18.6 million fake trees, according to a Nielsen consumer survey commissioned by the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), a trade association of tree growers.

There are valid arguments for both choices. On the one hand, the NCTA argues that real trees are “renewable, recyclable resources.” On the other hand, artificial trees can be used over and over, says a member of the American Christmas Tree Association, an organization that represent both real and artificial tree retailers.

Environmental impact

“Drive time,” disposal methods and life span are determining factors in assessing a tree’s environmental impact, according to two studies. In 2009, researchers at Ellipsos, a sustainability consulting firm, assessed the impact of real and artificial trees in four categories: human health, ecosystem quality, climate change and resource depletion. They found that a natural tree is a better option for the environmentally conscious consumer in terms of effects on climate change and resource depletion. However, an artificial tree becomes a better solution regarding climate change — if it’s used for 20 years.

A similar study, by PE International and sponsored by ACTA, also a sustainability consultant, found that using an artificial tree for more than eight Christmases is environmentally friendlier than purchasing eight or more real cut trees over eight years.

Health concerns

Promoters of artificial trees often argue that real trees can trigger allergies, either from pollen or mold and dust. However, Clint Springer, an assistant professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadephia, noted in a press release that pollen is not usually an issue in farm-raised trees because they are too young at cutting time to be reproductive.

Springer also said that mold spores found in live trees are usually not a problem because they rarely become airborne. If a person is sensitive to the natural scent, however, Springer recommended pines over firs because pines tend to have a weaker scent.

Keeping it fresh

If you choose a real tree, keeping it fresh is very important, not only to preserve its beauty, but also to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard. With proper care, a Christmas tree can stay fresh for a month or even longer.

Everyone knows that you must add water to the reservoir in the base of a Christmas tree — and as a rule of thumb, a typical tree absorbs a quart of water for each inch of its diameter.

Add to the mix?

There is some debate about whether adding any kind of mixture to the water helps keep a tree fresher longer. Tchukki Anderson, a staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association, says many people have had success by mixing a tablespoon of sugar or corn syrup in the water. However, she says, water is usually enough.

A 2010 study at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point confirmed that keeping fresh-cut trees watered will reduce needle loss, refuting claims that watering a dead tree is pointless. However, the study’s author, tree scientist Les Werner, says additives such as sugar, aspirin or even vodka don’t help. “Clean water still works the best.”

But don’t take their word for it. Try the experiment and find out for yourself how to keep your Christmas tree fresher longer. If your family uses a real Christmas tree, or fresh evergreens for decoration, borrow a few small cut branches and try this experiment. You could also try using cut flowers, such as carnations.

What you need

  • 5 small branches of healthy, fresh cut evergreen, each about 4 inches long — make sure the branches come from the same tree and are as nearly identical in size and shape as possible. (If you use flowers they should be the same type, and the stems should be cut to the same length in the same way.)
  • 5 quart jars with lids to store your solutions
  • 5 “vases” for your cuttings (It is best to use identical containers. Transparent plastic cups or drinking glasses work well — you will want to be able to observe the cut tip of each sample without removing it from the liquid.)
  • Tap water
  • White vinegar
  • Light corn syrup
  • Household bleach
  • Labels and permanent marker
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl

What to do

Prepare the solutions – be sure to label your jars:

  • Jar 1: 1 quart plain tap water
  • Jar 2: 1 quart of water with a half-cup of light corn syrup dissolved in it. (It works best to warm the water on the stove and add the syrup slowly as it warms. Make sure it is cool before placing your plant cutting in the solution.)
  • Jar 3: 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar added
  • Jar 4: 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of bleach added
  • Jar 5: Tree Freshening mixture: 1 quart of water with a half-cup of light corn syrup dissolved in it, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar* and 1 teaspoon bleach.

NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT to mix the syrup water and vinegar together first before adding any bleach!!

*Adding bleach directly to undiluted vinegar results in toxic vapors. Omit the vinegar if this makes you nervous.

Use fresh-cut branches about the same size and shape. (Image credit: April Cat )

Prepare the test samples – make sure to label them!

  1. Trim the bottom of each branch at an angle and place each of your branches in a separate “vase” so that the trimmed end rests on the bottom and the foliage is clear of the vase.
  2. Pour just enough liquid from Jar 1 into Vase 1 so that the trimmed angle of the branch is completely submerged in the liquid but most of the branch is above the surface of the liquid.
  3. Repeat with Jar 2 and Vase 2 and so on, with each of the other solutions.
  4. Place the vases in a secure location at room temperature.
  5. Observe the branches every two days over a period of at least 4 weeks, adding appropriate liquid from the jars to keep just the cut tip of the branches submerged. Look for changes to the foliage and for signs of mold or mildew at the base. Record your observations in a data table.

Questions

  • Most tap water has a slightly alkaline pH. Most evergreens prefer slightly acidic conditions. Which additive makes the water more acidic?
  • Light corn syrup is made up of dissolved sugars, why is adding sugar into the mix important?
  • Undiluted bleach is toxic to living things, so why was bleach added to the Tree Freshening mixture? (Hint: Think about why many household cleaners include bleach.)

What else to try

  • Try using clear soda pop (like 7Up) instead of the Tree Freshening mixture in Jar 5.
  • Try grinding up 1 aspirin tablet to dissolve in a quart of water instead of the white vinegar.
  • Try other household liquids.

Experiments compiled by Mary Bagley, Live Science contributor

More Holiday Science Experiments

  • How to Make Borax Crystal Snowflakes

More Science Fair Projects

  • High School Science Fair Projects
  • Middle School Science Fair Projects
  • Weather Experiments / Science Fair Projects
  • Cool Science Experiments for Hot Summer Days
  • How to Choose a Science Fair Project Topic

If cutting down or purchasing a fresh Christmas tree is part of your family’s holiday traditions, you’ll want the tree to stay green and healthy for as long as possible. One way some people do this is by adding sugar to the tree’s water reservoir; however, that may not work.

Sugar Water Effectiveness

Advocates of using sugar water for Christmas trees say that the mixture acts as artificial sap or food for the tree, thereby helping the tree to live longer. However, supporting evidence is lacking and mostly anecdotal.

In fact, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recommends not adding anything to your tree’s water supply, including sugar or sugar products such as honey or corn syrup. In addition, associate professor Les Werner, the author of a University of Wisconsin Steven’s-Point Christmas tree care study featured in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, indicates that adding sugar to tree water does not help.

Some people use 7-Up instead of white sugar to help preserve their tree but there is no evidence supporting this works.

Try the Sugar Theory Yourself

Although there is no direct evidence that adding sugar water to your tree prolongs its life, there is also no indication that it causes harm. So if you decide to give it a try, there are some guidelines keep in mind.

How to Add Sugar to Your Reservoir

People who use sugar water for their trees often use a mixture rate of one cup of sugar for every gallon of water added to the reservoir. Be sure to add the sugar water into the container from which you are watering your tree and stir until the sugar is dissolved before adding it to the water reservoir in your Christmas tree stand. If you don’t do this and simply add the sugar directly to the reservoir, the sugar will just sink to the bottom.

Chlorophyll Substitute Recipe

The following sugar water recipe includes ingredients that are said to act as chlorophyll substitutes for your Christmas tree.

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons hot water
  • 2 cups corn syrup
  • 2 ounces chlorine bleach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Epsom salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Borax
  • 1 teaspoon of Iron (the kind you can find at any garden center)

Directions

  1. Mix the hot water, corn syrup, chlorine bleach, and Epsom salts together until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the Borax and iron and stir until dissolved.

Simple Recipe

It is believed that the sugar acts as food for the tree and the vinegar adds acid to the water. Adding a bit of acid to the water may help the tree soak the water up more efficiently.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and add to the water reservoir.

Success Varies

For many people, using sugar water is a tried and true way to keep their Christmas tree healthy, but experts say it doesn’t work. Success or failure in making your tree last longer may be due to other factors such as room temperature, how long ago the tree was cut down, how the tree was stored, and how much water the tree receives.

How to prevent your Christmas tree from drying out too soon

If you’re buying a real Christmas tree this year, there are some things you should keep in mind to prevent if from drying out before New Year’s Day.

(Evan Sharboneau, ThinkStock)

Trees that might have been precut in October and transported in refrigerated trucks will definitely need fresh one-inch trims from the base, said Donna A. Cole, executive secretary of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association and owner of Cole’s Country Tree Farm in Alexandria Township, Hunterdon County.

“The sap has already sealed the base of the trunk and will not drink any water, and the needles will dry out and fall off way, way sooner if not already,” Cole said.

Cole said needles should not fall off the branches when you run your hand across them.

For those cutting down a tree at a farm this year, Cole said Douglas and Fraser firs are the most popular.

“The firs have better needle retention and they’re also more fragrant,” she said.

Norway Spruces, like the tree on display at Rockefeller Center in New York City this year, also are popular. But Cole cautioned, “the spruces may have the ability to hold heavier ornaments, they’re a little stronger, but their needle retention is not as great.”

Another thing to keep in mind, according to Cole, is that a tree out in a field might appear to be much smaller, but in reality is much larger once inside.

A Christmas tree should be placed away from a heat source, such as a radiator, vent or fireplace to prevent it from drying out, and while the jury is still out on whether adding aspirin or sugar to the water in the stand can help keep it fresh, Cole said “the most important thing is water.”

She said a tree will drink between 2 pints and 1 gallon of water per day.

“You don’t want the water level to go below the end of the tree stump. The sap will seal it over and it will have no longer the ability to intake the water,” Cole said.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at [email protected]

More from New Jersey 101.5:

12 Days of Experts: 9 Tips for Keeping a Christmas Tree Fresh, 4 Trees You Should Know (Slideshow)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Christmas tree’s best friend is water, says a forestry expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Given good hydration and other proper care, a cut Christmas tree should stay fresh indoors for at least a month, said Kathy Smith, forestry program director in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.

That’s true at least for the Christmas tree species commonly sold in Ohio, Smith said, four of which you can see in the accompanying slideshow.

The slideshow includes details provided by Jim Brown, forestry professor emeritus in the school, who has been called the father of the Canaan fir for his research to develop the now widely grown species as a successful commercial Christmas tree. (Photos by K.D. Chamberlain, CFAES Communications.)

Smith, as part of her work, leads the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, a statewide educational effort aimed at helping people take care of trees, forests and wildlife. The college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension, runs the program.

Below, Smith shares key tips for keeping one’s tannenbaum in possession of its needles.

  • Make sure the tree is fresh. Cut it yourself at a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm. Or, if you shop at a retail lot …
  • Take a light grip on one of the tree’s branches. Then pull the branch lightly through your hand. A fresh tree will lose few, if any, green needles. Two other options are to …
  • Hold the tree by its trunk and shake it. Or bounce the bottom of the trunk on the ground. Again, a fresh tree should lose few, if any, green needles.
  • Keep the tree in a cool, protected place if you don’t plan to take it indoors right away. Put it under an overhang, say, or in an unheated garage or porch.

ONLINE QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Christmas trees at go.osu.edu/ChristmasTreeQuiz.

  • If you’re going to store the tree outside for a couple of days, put the end of its trunk in a bucket of water. But first …
  • If the tree has been cut for more than 6-8 hours — and so has been out of water that long — make a new, straight cut at the bottom of the trunk. Use a saw to cut an inch or so off the end. Otherwise, during that time, sap will have started to seal the original cut. The tree won’t take up water as well, or maybe not at all, and will dry out sooner than it should.
  • Keep the room cooler than normal, if possible, once you set up the tree. If you can, turn down the thermostat, or close or partly close the room’s heat vents. This slows down the tree’s drying out.
  • For the same reason, locate the tree away from heat vents, fireplaces, radiators and windows that get direct sunlight.
  • Last but not least, keep the tree, yes, watered. Ideally, use a tree stand that can hold at least 1 gallon of water, and more for bigger trees. The key: Keep it filled. Don’t let the water get lower than the end of the trunk. If the water gets too low, the end will seal with sap. And you know what happens then: Less or no uptake of water; premature drying out.

Jim Brown, right, Ohio State University forestry professor emeritus, poses with Roger Dush, co-owner of the Pine Tree Barn Christmas tree farm, on Dush’s farm in Wooster. (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain, CFAES Communications.)

Regarding the second and third tips: Brown needles are another story. Every year, a growing Christmas tree normally sheds some of its needles. Thousands of these dead brown needles may collect in the branches.

That’s why Christmas tree sellers often give a tree a good shake — either by hand or by using a special machine — when someone buys the tree: to get rid of these perfectly normal but still possibly carpet-messing brown needles.

To learn more, read “Selecting and Caring For Your Cut Christmas Tree,” an OSU Extension fact sheet available free at go.osu.edu/ChristmasTree.

– 30 –

You’re mistreating your Christmas tree, and here’s how to fix it

Jacob Hamilton | MLive.com

If you’re one of those folks for whom the holiday season doesn’t really start until there’s a real live Christmas tree in your home — wafting its woodsy pine scent, glowing with lights and ornaments — then you’ll want to heed the following tips from Amy Start, executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.

Start says many of reasons why some people think live trees are a hassle (pine needles everywhere, the tree drying out well before Christmas actually arrives) can be attributed to, as she put it, “user error” — i.e., poor tree care, especially during the tree’s crucial first few days in your home. Follow Start’s tips to make sure your live Christmas tree stays healthy and lasts well into the New Year.

Don’t Edit

1. Always get a fresh cut.

Whether you’re cutting your own tree at a tree farm or out in the woods, or picking out a pre-cut live tree at a Christmas tree lot, be sure to get a fresh cut along the bottom of the trunk: This is what allows the tree to drink up water and keep it alive. If that tree of your is pre-cut, ask for a fresh cut before you take it home.

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2. Don’t leave it out of water for more than two hours.

One of the biggest no-no’s of bringing home a live Christmas tree, Start says, it taking too long to get it home. After buying their tree, some people might want to run other errands or go Christmas shopping — during which time, the fresh cut on the bottom of their tree’s trunk will crust over with sap, preventing it from taking up water when the tree finally gets put in a tree stand. “By the time they get it home, it may have been out for hours, which is why it dries out in the first few days,” she says.

If that shopping absolutely can’t wait and your tree will be out for more than two hours, Start says to be sure to make another fresh cut along the bottom so that it can take up water.

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3. Keep the tree away from heat sources.

Not placing your tree next to a fireplace seems like a no brainer, but placing it next to any heat source — including heating ducts — can dry out your live tree, too. If this can’t be helped, make sure to check the tree stand’s water more frequently, and fill ‘er up when needed.

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4. Refill the water frequently during the first few days.

By now you’re probably getting the picture: Keeping that tree hydrated is the theme here. “In the first few days, it takes a lot of water,” Start says. So don’t just plop that tree in its tree stand and forget it: Check that the water level stays high in the stand, especially during those first few days.

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5. But don’t forget to keep filling the water even when the tree’s water uptake slows down.

A live-cut tree will eventually slow its roll when it comes to drinking up water, but you should still stay on top of keeping it hydrated. Make it a habit to check the water level daily, and that tree will last you well past New Year’s.

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Bonus tip: When you take the tree down, lay it on a sheet for easy removal.

Start’s favorite tip for success in taking down a Christmas tree with minimal hassle: Just lay the tree down on a large bed sheet and drag it out the door; the sheet will collect and contain and needles that fall along the way.

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Be sure to recycle your tree.

One of the best parts about live Christmas trees, Start says, is that they’re completely recyclable. Check with your city or county waste collection programs to see if they offer Christmas tree pick-up (some have drop-off locations for tree recycling), which keeps trees out of landfills and turns them into a truly renewable resource.

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MLive file photo

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Related stories:

Things to know about your fresh Christmas tree

Where to cut your own Christmas tree in Michigan

How to cut your own $5 tree in Michigan this year

13 Michigan Christmas songs that belong on your holiday playlist

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The 3 F’s of Christmas Tree Care

Hold the salt please!!

One reason a cut tree can lose needles quickly is that it was transported when the roads have been salted. If you have to transport your tree on your car’s roof when salt spray is a problem, make sure you hose the salt off when you get it home. Nothing sucks the moisture out of a Christmas Tree quicker than a layer of salt on the needles and branches.

The 3 F’s of tree care…fresh tree, fresh cut and fresh hot water
I love the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree when it’s brought inside. The trick to keeping it fresh and fragrant is to keep the tree hydrated.

Find the Freshest Tree
The first step is to get a fresh tree. When you’re out in the tree lot picking out your tree, bend the little branch tips to make sure they are supple, not brittle. Beware of spruce trees which are notorious for falling apart quickly once they’re cut and brought inside.

Bend the branches…supple means fresh

Fresh Cut
Next, be sure to make a fresh cut on the base of the tree right before you bring it inside. This is so important because the tree has sucked air into the bottom-most cells of the trunk and it is also clogged with dirt. Even if the tree is placed in water, it can’t absorb it because the first cells at the base are clogged with dirt and air.

Cutting the dirt and air clogged stem of the tree

A fresh cut exposes fresh cells that can absorb water and send it along to the cells above and right out to the branches and needles. Most tree lots will offer to make this fresh cut for you.

Now this tree can absorb water

How long is that fresh cut “fresh”?
The fresh cut made at the tree lot is fine if you’re going to rush home and get the tree into water within an hour. If it will be longer than an hour, you should get it into a bucket of water in the garage or make your own fresh cut on the tree at home.

Fresh Hot water
Make sure that your tree stand is clean before you put your tree into it. If your tree stand is like mine, it spends most of its time in the shed gathering dust. If you don’t clean this dust, it will mix with the water the tree is absorbing and clog up those all important cells that you just exposed at the base of the trunk when you made your fresh cut. When you place the tree into the stand, fill the stand with very hot water. Hot water is absorbed more quickly than cold water so the tree will rehydrate as quickly as possible. You don’t need to use hot water every time you add water; just the first time. Make sure that the tree stand always has water in it. If you let it run dry, the tree will suck air into the bottom cells again and it won’t be able to absorb water unless another fresh cut is made. And that isn’t likely to happen once the tree is decorated. Remember: Fresh Tree, Fresh Cut and Fresh Hot Water.

Thanks for the read.

Using Science to Care for Your Christmas Tree

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so how about something to get us into the holiday spirit – the science of Christmas trees. That’s right, we’re picking up where we left off a couple of years ago at this time. We spoke to a Christmas tree researcher in Canada named Raj Lada and we learned something startling.

This was amazing when we learned it: If you want your Christmas tree to stay healthy, don’t leave a fruit basket gift underneath it. It knocked me out. Here’s how it sounded: If you have a large bowl of fruit, will it give off ethylene?

RAZ LADA: Yeah, of course, don’t keep your fruits close to your trees.

FLATOW: Seriously, keep the fruit…

LADA: Honestly, yes.

FLATOW: Yeah, yeah, if you get a fruit basket for Christmas, don’t put it under the…

LADA: Exactly…

FLATOW: Don’t put it under the tree. Get the fruit basket away from under the tree.

LADA: Get away, yeah, that’s correct, actually, Ira.

FLATOW: And there you have it. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. And so we thought we would tell you some more interesting stuff about Christmas trees. This is not to say that you should, you know, opt for an artificial tree if you have a fruit basket.

So if you are going with a real tree, what advice can we offer you this year? How about knowing which tree you should get? Yeah, or if you already have your tree set up, how can you keep the tree healthy and your home relatively needle-free? Well, my next guest has some handy tips on how to make a Christmas tree last into the New Year.

Rick Bates is an associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. He joins us from WPSU in University Park. Welcome to the program.

RICK BATES: Good afternoon, Ira, thanks for having me.

FLATOW: Is there a specific species that makes a good Christmas tree, one better than the others?

BATES: There are. If you look at kind of everything that’s out there on the market, you’re going to see spruce, you’ll see pine, you’ll see Douglas fir, and then what we call true fir. And the true fir tend to be kind of like the Cadillac of the Christmas tree species.

In the east, Fraser fir tends to be the species of choice. In the western U.S., a lot of people really like noble fir.

FLATOW: So it’s a fir tree?

BATES: Yeah, it’s a fir as opposed to a pine or a spruce. Now…

FLATOW: How do you – do you know how to ask to see, you know, if you’re getting the real fir tree or not?

BATES: Well, usually a retailer, even somebody at a big box store, for instance, usually could tell you the difference. Certainly the true fir, the needles tend to be soft. You can run your hand over a branch, and they’ll be nice and flexible and soft. When we think of Christmas tree aroma, we’re often thinking about firs, whether we know it or not. Balsam fir or Concolor fir tend to be really aromatic.

FLATOW: Right.

BATES: The spruce tend to have a – kind of a spinier, prickly needle. So if you grab hold of, let’s say, a Colorado spruce, you’re going to know it. The pines – for instance, white pine – tends to have a real thin, long, fine needle, real soft, real fine texture.

FLATOW: 1-800-989-8255 is our number if you’d like to ask anything about Christmas trees. You know, there’s a lot of research. When we were researching this, Rick, we found that there’s a whole bunch of research in Christmas trees, a lot of it going on. Why is that?

BATES: Well, there is. It’s a big industry. If you look at how many Christmas trees we consume as a nation – the U.S. uses about 30 million, take or – you know, plus or minus a year. Europe, Western Europe particularly, they’re closer to 50 million. So it’s a billion-dollar-a-year-plus industry.

There are a lot of Christmas tree farmers across the country, probably in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 thousand producers of Christmas trees. So it’s a big industry.

FLATOW: We’re going to take a break, and we come back, we’ll talk more with Rick Bates, associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. Our number, 1-800-989-8255. You can tweet us, yes, tweet us @scifri, at S-C-I-F-R-I. If you have questions about what’s the best time to put up the tree, what days, how to water it, what about a tree you want to keep live, how to replant – we’re going to get into all that stuff, 1-800-989-8255 is our number. You can also tweet us @scifri, S-C-I-F-R-I, or go to our website at sciencefriday.com. And also go on our Facebook page @scifri. So stay with us. We’ll be right back after this break.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLATOW: You’re listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY. I’m Ira Flatow. Of course we’ll keep you up to date on the multiple shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, and all the details will be available to you at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED tonight on the news.

Right now we’re talking about Christmas tree science with Rick Bates, associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture Sciences at Penn State University. Our number, 1-800-989-8255. Rick, let’s get into some of the dos and don’ts of a Christmas tree. For example, when is the best time to buy the tree?

BATES: Well, usually sometime after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas tree sale season starts to heat up. It kind of depends on what your estimation is of how long you want to leave the tree up. You know, I normally go out and get a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I procrastinate in taking it down, and so it sometimes doesn’t come down until after the first of the year. So that may be five or six weeks.

So you don’t want to push the envelope, or you might end up with more needles on the floor. So, you know, generally four to six weeks ought to be the limit. So if you’re, let’s say, you know, choosing a species that maybe doesn’t have the best needle retention, let’s say a white pine or a Scotch pine, maybe you want to wait until the first of December, in that first week of December, or the second week of December.

You may not want to try to leave it on display for quite as long.

FLATOW: Let’s talk about a live tree. We’ve had a number of tweets. Nathan Rider(ph), (unintelligible), they want to know, first: Should I dig up an X-mas tree to plant after the holidays, how can I make sure it lives, how do I keep the tree and replant it after Christmas? What are the dos and don’ts for a live tree?

BATES: Those are all good questions, and it tends to be a little bit more complicated, you know, than the face value of the question. We have a lot of trouble keeping trees, live trees alive when we transplant them back outside in the landscape after Christmas.

And probably the best way to go about it, rather than actually digging up a tree and hauling it inside, would be to go to a local garden center or some of the retailers that are now offering this kind of product, like a containerized conifer, maybe a little bit smaller than a six- to seven-foot tree, but they’re out there, and they’re becoming more common.

Start with that kind of product, and then rather than planting it outside directly after the display period, after, you know, the first of the year, keeping it inside, something like an unheated garage. The light doesn’t matter so much as just not exposing it to the real cold temperatures, especially here in the Northeast, after you’ve had it on display. And then…

FLATOW: Do you water it? If you have it in your garage, do you water the root ball at all, or…

BATES: You know, because it’s a cooler environment, and it’s not exposed to the wind, it doesn’t use a lot of water. So rather than maybe a once-a-week watering, just check it frequently, maybe once a week, but I bet you only have to water it once every couple of weeks. It’s not going to use a lot of water.

And then just as soon as the ground becomes workable in the spring, that might be March for some parts of the country, maybe April, that’s when you want to go out and actually plant it. If you do that, I think your chances of that tree surviving in the landscape are going to be a lot better than if you just dig something up from a farm or from your yard, drag it inside and then replant it.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the longer you keep that kind of live tree inside on display in a warm living room, the worse your chances are going to be for that plant living once you plant it back outside. So you want to kind of limit the amount of time to maybe a week to 10 days inside on display versus a cut Christmas tree, you know, that’s going to be recycled after the display period, anyway, so you can leave it inside until it actually starts to shed needles.

But for this live product that you want back out in your yard, you know, try to limit the amount of time that you’re going to have it inside.

FLATOW: That’s some shock it goes through if it’s going to go from the warm to the cold.

BATES: Yeah, exactly.

FLATOW: Yeah, let’s go to Bonnie(ph) in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Hi Bonnie.

BONNIE: Hi, I’m just wondering about what variety of tree is least likely to cause allergy problems. I’ve had some trouble over the past three years with when the tree comes in the house, and I’m thinking about an artificial tree, it would be the first one I’ve ever had. So I love a live tree.

BATES: That’s a good question, and I hope you kind of stick with it and continue using a live tree. I don’t know that there are really big differences between species in terms of allergies that we know about. There are some environmental factors that I think can lend, you know, to a tree maybe having the spores or the mold that might cause a problem.

If you have a period of time when the tree’s been harvested that it’s wet or particularly if it’s warm and moist, and there in Arkansas you may have some November temperatures and conditions where it’s relatively warm, there’s a lot of moisture around, often when a Christmas tree producer or retailer has a cut tree, they will bail it, which means they’ll wrap it in twine, bundle it up so that it stores better.

That kind of traps some of that moisture inside. So something like opening that tree up before you bring it inside, especially if it’s been on display at a retail outlet under those kind of warm, moist conditions, that can help. Let it dry out.

FLATOW: Should you cut – put a fresh cut where the old one is?

BATES: Well, that’s going to help in terms of the longevity and the quality of the tree inside. It may not do much in terms of allergies or spores. The other thing is a lot of choosing cut farms and the better retailers, they’re probably going to shake the tree before you buy it. So they’ll put it basically on a device that simply vibrates the tree, and that knocks out any kind of loose needles or dead needles that may be up in the tree.

And that gets rid of a lot of the debris, a lot of the structures like the dead needles, where, you know, there might be a spore or something on that needle. And that can kind of clean the tree up. So that can help. Most conditions, people generally don’t have much of a reaction.

FLATOW: Bonnie, thanks for calling. Good luck to you.

BONNIE: OK, thank you.

FLATOW: 1-800-989-8255. Let’s go to Stan(ph) in Tallahassee. Hi, Stan.

STAN: Hey, yeah, I had a question. We have a – one year we let our tree stay out on the back lanai, and we’re in North Florida, and the temperature was cool, and there was a lot of sun. And I was wondering: Does the – does that affect – how does temperature and light affect how long your tree will live? And I’ll take it off the air.

FLATOW: OK, thanks. Yeah, what affects how long your tree with live? And maybe you can throw in that question I asked about cutting it when you get it home. Does that affect how long it lives?

BATES: It does. The best way to look at it, I think, Ira, is it’s a combination of genetics and environment. And the genetics are based in the tree. So there’ll be some tree-to-tree differences and some differences between these species that we’ve talked about. But then the other big factor are the environmental conditions that the tree is exposed to.

And really what we’re talking about are the environmental factors that relate to water, to hydration of the tree and to how quickly the environmental factors around that tree pull water out of the tree. And so the key is if you want to control the environment is to try to keep the tree as hydrated as you can during the entire display period.

And so that would start with, like you mentioned, fresh half-inch or inch cut on the base of the tree if you don’t know how long it’s been since the tree was harvested. That’s going to open up the xylem vessels to take in water. It’s going to open the tree up to absorb water. And trees actually can drink a lot of water, especially when they’re freshly cut.

So it’s not uncommon for a tree to absorb a gallon or more a day.

FLATOW: A gallon a day?

BATES: A gallon a day. A good rule of thumb is about a quart of water per inch of stem diameter per day. And this goes down kind of over the lifespan of the tress when it’s inside. But initially, that could be a lot of water. And then…

FLATOW: What about those plant packets they put inside? Do those help keep the tree alive?

BATES: The research that we have to date don’t really indicate that there’s much benefit from that. You’d be better off concentrating your efforts on things like making sure you’ve got a proper reservoir of water, something that holds at least a gallon, keeping freshwater in there.

Like your caller suggests, maybe keeping it out of the sun, out of drafts, away from heat, a heater vent, or something like that can tend to dry the tree out. So what you’re really trying to do are modify or reduce all those factors that would suck moisture out of the tree, and that’s going to probably do more than anything else to extend the life of the tree on display.

FLATOW: One question for you about, you know, we’re looking forward – what’s the best way to dispose of your tree once the holiday’s over?

BATES: Well, when the holidays are over and, you know, I don’t know if you’re like me, I tend to push the envelop and I don’t really take the tree outside until I kind of start to see needles dropping and it clearly is on its way out. Most municipalities now have a good recycling program where they will turn that Christmas tree into mulch, just like they would branches or leaves in the autumn. So they’ll take the tree, and they’ll put it into that composting waste stream and turn it into something useful that the municipality then often either gives away or sells in the form of mulch. So it’s a great way to recycle. And actually, if you get on the website realchristmastrees.org, you often can actually find a recycling program in your municipality.

FLATOW: I heard that you have a novel or have come up with a novel method of disposal of Christmas tree that we wouldn’t have thought of or expected – in a lake. Is that correct?

BATES: Yeah. If you’re out in the country or around a reservoir or a farm pond or farm lake, some people will take the Christmas tree and actually toss it into the lake, and it actually provides some habitat for small fish.

FLATOW: Will they allow you to do that?

BATES: Oh, you probably want to ask first. I – a number of years ago lived on – next to a farm and – that had a couple of farm ponds, and the farmer was happy to have the Christmas trees in the lake because there was a pretty healthy bass population and bluegill population. So it’s a good practice. Not everybody can do that if you’re in an urban area, but certainly that or recycling the tree is a real good solution. It really is a renewable resource, and so we grow the trees and turning them into mulch after the season is a good way to dispose of them.

FLATOW: And what about the temperature of the water? You say we need a gallon jug to put it in, to keep it filled with a gallon. Does it help to make it hotter water than, you know, than average temperature?

BATES: It really doesn’t matter. Cold water is fine. What does matter is the fresh cut on the base of the tree. If it’s been, you know, a day or so since that tree has been harvested, putting the fresh cut opens up those pores that are going to draw in the water. And if the water is cold or hot, it doesn’t matter so much as having a fresh cut and no sap covering that base of the trunk.

FLATOW: So, that’s the most important thing then? Enough water…

BATES: Yeah.

FLATOW: …give it a fresh cut and have a Merry Christmas.

(LAUGHTER)

BATES: Yeah. And enjoying the tree, and, you know, those things like keeping it maybe out of the sunlight…

FLATOW: Out of the sun.

BATES: …out of drafts, away from heater vents. But then checking the reservoir routinely because I find that commonly people are surprised just with how much water the trees, especially in that first week, so keeping an eye on that Christmas tree stand reservoir.

FLATOW: And keep the fruit baskets away from it. Thank you very much, Rick.

BATES: OK. Thank you.

FLATOW: Happy holiday to you. Rick Bates, associate professor of horticulture at Penn State University. I’m Ira Flatow. This is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

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The Right Room Temperature for Your Christmas Tree

We know that Christmas trees don’t last forever, but we should at least find a way to preserve it throughout the holiday season. Like other houseplants, they need a little attention and care to look at their best.

Here are expert Christmas tree care tips from Blue Air One to get the right room temperature for that precious pine.

Don’t Let It Dry Out!

Just think of your Christmas tree as the most beautiful tree ever, extremely deprived of water. For sure, it will get thirsty and dry water daily. As soon as it’s cut, the tree loses a significant amount of moisture.

The truth is—a real Christmas tree can last a month or more, given consistent care and watering. With a constant supply of cold water for the first 24 hours, you can preserve its freshness and extend its short life. Watering it with cold water also keeps it fragrant—like it’s always freshly cut.

Keep it Away From Heat

Heat is the #1 enemy of your tree! So, you have to keep it distant from all sources of heat including sunlight, portable heaters, and fireplaces. High indoor temperatures cause it to wither and dry faster than expected. Keeping your heat at a cooler temperature in your home, your tree will be less likely to wilt. Make sure to monitor your tree and check signs of dryness like drooping or dropping needles.

Choose a Cool Spot

As you’re trying to keep it away from the heat, the solution is to place it somewhere cool and slightly dark. If there’s no ideal spot in your home, you can lower the temperature a few degrees as an alternative. The goal is to slow down the drying process and keep it garden-fresh at least until Christmas.

Check Relative Humidity

Your home’s ideal wintertime humidity is around 40 percent—and it’s also the perfect moisture level that your Christmas tree requires. If the indoor air is too dry, you can use a humidifier to add moisture in the air.

With extra effort, your Christmas tree will stay alive and fresh until the end of the holiday season. Follow these tips, and you’ll never go wrong!

From all of us at Blue Air One, Inc., we wish you a merry and blessed Christmas in Linden, NJ.

The holidays come with a lot of chores. Between buying your bestie the perfect gift, baking the sweetest desserts for your holiday bash, and making sure you watch all the Lifetime Christmas movies (yes, they’re already playing!), you might need to cut corners somewhere to salvage your sanity. Like, say, a faux Christmas tree that you can set up without straining your back or crawling around on the ground. Here’s one now!

The Grow & Stow Christmas Tree is a smart tree that puts itself up, with lights. Just roll this tree stand into your home and plug ‘er in. Once turned on, watch as 850 dual-color LED lights electrify the room and the branches start to slowly stretch out. The tree will continue to expand until it has reached its full height, which can be set to either seven or nine feet.

You don’t really need more functions after that, but you’ll get them anyway. The tree’s lights can be turned into rainbow colors for a fun, happy look, or kept clear for a more sophisticated vibe. You can also program the lights to fade or alternate colors. As one Costco user wrote in the comments, “Great tree. Easy set up. Works as advertised. Basically ‘plug and play’. Minimal ‘fluffing’ required. I was amazed.”

9′ Grow and Stow Adjustable Height Sonoma Fir Member’s Mark samsclub.com $469.98

Of course, a tree this cool is going to cost you, and the price is pretty steep at $470. Still, it’d be a great product for those folks who might have a hard time assembling a tree or lugging one in, and anyway, you can’t put a price on true ease and convenience. Watch below as this Grow & Stow tree does its thing!

Almost like a robot, right? But if you’re all about keeping tradition and assembling and decorating the tree yourself, worry not. Here are 15 more awesome artificial trees.

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.

Kelly Corbett News Writer Kelly is the News Writer at House Beautiful where she covers a little bit of everything ranging from decorating trends and must-have products, to anything that includes doughnuts or glitter.

You Can Now Get An Incredible Christmas Tree That Puts Itself Up This Holiday Season

The days leading up to Christmas are nothing short of hectic. If the one thing you dread more than picking out the perfect gifts for everyone without overdrawing your bank account is actually setting up the Christmas tree, there is now a tree that can put itself up.

The Grow & Stow Christmas Tree is a blessing that will make sure there’s one less thing on your holiday to-do list.

Costco

If going out to get a Christmas tree sounds like a hassle, this tree is the perfect alternative. The tree can be wheeled into the most convenient location and locked in position, and only needs an initial set-up where you will have to attach the upper half of the tree to the lower part.

This is the only effort you have to put into setting up the tree. It has a remote control and with a press of a button, the tree slowly expands and stretches into fullness. It reaches an adjustable height ranging from 7′ to 9′.

The tree comes pre-lit and includes 850 dual-color LED lights with seven functions. You can have fun with the lighting by changing the settings. The lights can be monochromatic for a simple, understated aesthetic or it can be changed to multi-color for a more fun look.

You even have an option to make the lights fade, have it steady, and even alternate it.

The Home Depot

This robot-like tree can be purchased from Costco for $600. It may seem like a steep price to pay but it practically pays for itself with all the stress it is sure to save you.

It even looks like it could be a real tree, unlike some artificial trees. Moreover, once Christmas passes, the dread of having to disassemble the tree need not bother you since this tree can easily be rolled up and stored in the bag it came in till Christmas next year and many more Christmasses to follow.

You can even get a similar tree on Home Depot for $559. This tree also has an adjustable height and “the branches move into place to fill and shape into a classic tree silhouette,” reads the description.

The Home Depot

It can be set-up in less than five minutes and you can use the time you have saved with the family watching re-runs of your favorite Christmas movies while snuggled on the couch sipping hot chocolate.

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