Become our fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Home Buying Help – Money Management Tools – Home Decorating Ideas – Free Recipes

How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Alive

No amount of tinsel or lights can make bare branches and brown needles look good. Make sure your fir lasts the entire holiday season.

Photo: Thinkstock / The Nest

Now that you’ve spent all that time trimming your tree and tussling with your partner over which ornaments deserve prime real estate, don’t you want it to make it at least until Christmas with most of its needles still intact? Try these tips to ensure your evergreen stays green till the end of the holiday season.

1. Start With a Healthy Tree

If you haven’t bought a tree yet, keep this in mind when picking one out: Feel the needles to make sure they bend with ease. If they easily break or fall off when you touch them, keep looking -- the tree isn’t fresh.

2. Trim the Trunk

Unless the tree is placed in water within a few hours of being cut, its sap will spill out and seal the base, preventing the absorption of water. So before you strap that fir to your car’s roof, ask the seller to cut 1 to 1.5 inches off the trunk. Then place the tree in a stand or bucket full of water as soon as possible.

3. Water, Water, Water

You might be surprised by how much water an evergreen can consume. To prevent the needles from drying out, you’ll need to check at least once a day to make sure there’s enough water in the stand to cover the cut end of the trunk. But if you went away for a weekend and left your tree without water for more than a few hours, you can still revive it. Just drill a few shallow holes at the base of the trunk and fill up the stand with water.

4. Don’t Fall for Gimmicks

Although you may be tempted to buy special “Christmas tree food” or add sugar, corn syrup or aspirin -- all of which have been purported to keep evergreen’s alive longer -- to the tree’s water supply, there’s no evidence that any of these substances actually work any better than plain old water.

5. Choose a Neutral Environment

To keep your fir fresh, place it away from heat sources, including direct sunlight, fireplaces, radiators and stoves. In addition to being a fire hazard, heat dries up the needles and causes them to turn brown and fall off (just think about how your hair feels at the end of summer). But avoid drafty spaces: Frequent cold breezes can also dry out the tree (kinda like how your skin feels after spending a few hours in the cold). Bet you didn’t think trees were that delicate, huh? If you really want to preserve your fir, use a humidifier.

-- Kristin Koch

See More: How to , Holiday