Stop Using These “Hacks” That Will Dry Your Christmas Tree
A living Christmas tree might seem like a good project for someone with a brown thumb. You only have to take care of him for a month, and then he will be thrown to the curb. But it’s important to keep your tree fresh and happy during this time so it doesn’t turn into a fire hazard . Unfortunately, there are many fake “hacks” out there that actually make your tree more likely to lose its needles. Let’s separate the myths from the real good advice.
Don’t throw anything into the water
It seems that everyone has their own special recipe for “preserving” the Christmas tree. But if you talk to felled-tree conservation experts, like cooperative extension growers and the National Christmas Tree Association, they all agree that plain water is the best way to water your tree. Nothing has been added.
Take, for example, this study . A forestry specialist placed freshly cut branches of a Christmas tree in water treated with various substances that are supposed to prolong the life of the trees. These include tree preservatives, which you can buy in stores, as well as common do-it-yourself solutions that include corn syrup and bleach.
All the additions resulted in the branches losing more needles than if they had just been in plain water. Similar studies have been done with other supplements , including 7-Up soda, but plain water wins every time.
Don’t cut your tree trunk into fancy shapes
If you’re used to cutting flower stems at an angle before placing them in a vase, you might think it’s helpful to do the same for your Christmas tree trunk.
But it doesn’t actually help the tree absorb more water and may make the tree less healthy, experts say.
“Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water absorption,” says the National Christmas Tree Association. Washington State University warns that cutting at an angle that cuts off the base of a tree can “severely interfere” with the tree’s ability to absorb water.
What to do instead? Make a flat cut at the bottom of the trunk before placing it on a stand or bucket of water. You only need to remove the 1/2-inch disc, and you only need to do this if 6 to 12 hours have passed since the tree was cut down. home and put in a bucket without any pruning.
Don’t neglect watering
Christmas trees need a lot of water. Before placing the tree on a stand, find out if the stand can hold enough.
The rule of thumb is that a tree drinks a quart of water per day per inch of trunk diameter . So if the trunk is 4 inches wide, it will go through a full gallon of water every day.
Of course, this can vary from tree to tree. And while you really shouldn’t let your pets drink water from a tree , you should give the tree more water if you notice that it is disappearing faster than expected.
Be sure to check your tree at least twice a day to make sure it has plenty of water. (This doubles if your tree is near a vent or uses old-fashioned fixtures that put out a lot of heat.) You can even buy an automatic watering machine or build your own siphon and bucket whenever you need to. travels. Just don’t let the wood dry out.
Don’t think every tree in the store is fresh.
The last piece of advice I’ll give you is the first one you should know when buying: if the wood is already starting to dry out when it’s in the store, skip it. And if all the trees on the Christmas tree show signs of drying up, you should shop elsewhere.
The easiest way to check is to grab a branch and pull your hand towards you. The needles should remain firmly attached to the tree, and not come off in a crowd in the hand.
You can also try bending the needle to see if it breaks. Pine needles should not break at all. The needles on firs and fir trees will break if you bend them hard enough – as you would expect when bending carrots – but they shouldn’t be dry and brittle.
Finally, lift the tree up and tap the ground several times with the trunk . If a few brown needles fall out, that’s okay – the tree is the equivalent of finding a few hairs in your comb. But if more green needles fall, this tree will not survive. As a bonus, by tapping the tree in this way, you will reduce the number of needles you have to vacuum when setting up the tree.