How to keep your Christmas tree fresh and make it last longer


How to keep your Christmas tree fresh and make it last longer

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Sean Gallup
WERDER, GERMANY - DECEMBER 05: A visitor hauls away a Christmas tree he sawed down himself at the Werderaner Tannenhof Christmas tree farm on December 5, 2015 in Werder, Germany. The Christmas season is in high gear in Germany and a proper, fully decorated Christmas tree is an essental part of Germany's Christmas tradition. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A dead Christmas tree can really put a damper on your holiday celebrations. But did you know that there are ways to make your Christmas tree last longer? Follow the steps below to make sure your tree lasts as long as possible this season! 

Choose a good tree

Mark Derowitsch, a spokesperson for the Arbor Day Foundation, says there are several things you can look for in order to select the best Christmas tree that's sure to last throughout the holiday season. 

  • Cut your own Christmas tree, or purchase one from a local tree farm. 

"That guarantees freshness, and by going to a local tree farm you know it's going to be sustainable, so trees will be replanted, and it will be a selective harvest," says Derowitsch. Selecting a tree from a local tree farm also supports local jobs and reduces emissions from transporting trees cross country. 

  • Choose organic when possible.

Avoid the pesticides! Check for a list of local and organic Christmas tree farmers.

  • Inspect the tree.

Feel the needles - they should be flexible, not dry and brittle. If the needles fall off easily, stay away! Also, the tree should be a nice dark green color, not faded. The fresher the tree, the longer it will last. 

Wrap the tree for the ride home

Once you've found the perfect tree, you'll want to wrap it for the ride home. Wrapping the tree with a tarp or a blanket keeps it from getting dried out and protects it from other damage.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of transporting your own tree though, you can always order one online

Re-cut the stem

If you bought a pre-cut tree, you'll want to be sure to re-cut the stem. In order for the tree to get the most water to all the branches, re-cutting it before you place it in the stand will help it to last longer. Cut about half an inch off the bottom perpendicular to to the stem access.

But, avoid whittling away the outer layers of the wood to make the base fit the stand. The outer layers are the most efficient in taking up water!

Choose the right location

Location, location, location! Choose a spot in your home away from heating vents, cold drafts, or direct sunlight. Fluctuating temperatures can cause the tree to dry out faster, as can warmer temperatures. Also, putting the tree in a location with a lot of sunlight can lead to quicker fading. 

For the best kinds of stands, check out these 4 recommended stands from the National Christmas Tree Association. 

Use low-heat lights

Use smaller lights for your tree, such as miniature lights, that emit less heat. This will also keep the tree from drying. 

Keep it watered

Lastly, to keep your tree fresh, place the tree in water as soon as you get home, and make sure there is always water in the tree stand. Use a stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water, or 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. 

When the holidays are finished and you are ready to toss out your tree, consider recycling your tree instead of throwing it away in the trash. Check out ways to recycle your Christmas tree from the NCTA here!

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