Master Gardener: Caring for your Christmas tree

Master Gardener

The following information is taken from The National Christmas Tree Association:

Use a tree 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.

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.

Make a fresh cut to remove about a ½ inch 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.

Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.

Once home, (if you cut your own tree) 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.

The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.

Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.

Keep trees away from major sources of heat. Lowering room temperature will slow the drying process and result in less water consumption each day.

Inspect lights before use; use lights that produce low heat; do not overload electrical circuits; turn off tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

Neve burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace (gives off creosote).

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