No one wants their Christmas tree to start turning brown and dropping needles by the minute, especially before the presents are all unwrapped, but it can happen. Real Christmas trees have a longer life expectancy than you may think - tree experts say they should last about six weeks, as long as you take care of them right.
So how do you do that? Experts say these tips and trees can extend your evergreen’s life and keep it looking fresh until the New Year:
- Don’t pick one with falling needles - Don’t be like Charlie Brown and try to give “a little love” to a sad tree with falling needles, instead go for the freshest-looking tree with no dropped needles in sight.
- Give it a fresh cut - “Make sure when you buy a tree, it has a fresh cut on the bottom so it can easily absorb water,” explains licensed tree expert Hans Tielmann. “If it’s already cut, make sure the team selling the tree gives it a fresh cut when it is purchased. This isn’t an extra service they’re providing you, so be sure to ask for it if they don’t offer it.”
- Give it TLC as soon as you get home - Get the tree into fresh water as soon as you walk in the door and if you’re not able to put it up right away, at least put it in a bucket of water.
- Keep it away from heat - Don’t set your Christmas tree up next to any kind of heat source, like vents, radiators, fireplace or windows with direct light, because those can make it dry up faster, according to Greg Walsh, owner and founder of Greg’s Trees in New York City. Tielmann adds that even with a fireplace screen up, the chance of sparks landing on a partially dry tree is “extremely hazardous.”
- Keep it watered - This is the most critical part of Christmas tree care, Walsh says. And don’t wait for the water to dry up before adding more or the tree will close up. Walsh also recommends misting the tree with water from a spray bottle in between waterings.