How to Make a Christmas Tree Last
If you’ve decided to purchase a fresh-cut Christmas tree this year, you may be eager to cut your tree and bring it home. But, if you cut your tree too early, you may struggle to keep it fresh and green until Christmas or the new year. For a tree that thrives all December long, check out our tips for how to make a Christmas tree last.
How Long Does a Real Christmas Tree Last?
While many people start decorating November 1st, even the freshest-cut trees aren’t made to last forever. A healthy, fresh-cut Christmas tree will last for four to five weeks if properly cared for.
If you’re itching to put up your holiday decorations earlier, start with non-living decorations whenever you like, and finish off with fresh greenery and your Christmas tree around the first of December.
Start With a Fresh Tree
In order to have a green tree all December long, you’ll need to pay attention to a few things when selecting your tree. Starting with a healthy tree is a huge part of how to make a Christmas tree last.
There are a variety of tree species to choose from when it comes to selecting a Christmas tree. While most of them will last about a month, there are a few that stand out for their excellent needle retention:
- Fraser Fir
- Concolor Fir
- Canaan Fir
- White Pine
While it may seem like common sense, you should pick out a tree that looks physically healthy. These trees are more likely to last you all the way through the holidays, and can be identified by a few simple traits:
- Soft, pliable outer branches
- Even color across branches and needles
- Fresh, fragrant scent
- Bark that is smooth, not wrinkled
Transport and Store Your Tree Safely
Once you’ve selected a gorgeous, healthy tree for your home, you’ll need to have a plan for how to get it home safely. Whether you choose to strap it to a roof rack or fit it inside your vehicle, here are a few tips to keep your tree safe on its journey home.
Try your best to pick up your freshly-cut tree on a clear day. While Christmas trees can endure the cold just fine, rain and snow will create a mess in your vehicle and your home.
When customers ask us how to make a Christmas tree last longer, transportation is the first thing we mention. Being too rough with your tree can cause it to drop needles prematurely, making a mess and leaving bare spots in its greenery.
Most trees come packaged in netting, which helps keep their more delicate branches safe on the trip. If your tree does not come wrapped up, consider wrapping it in an old blanket to keep it safe and confined. If you’re transporting your tree on the roof, put the trunk end at the front of the vehicle. This will prevent needles from blowing off.
Many people like to store their tree outside or in a garage for a few days before bringing it in. If you plan on storing your tree outside, stand it up in a bucket of water in the shade to keep it hydrated. You can also bring it inside into a garage or shed for extra protection.
Christmas Tree Stands
Getting your Christmas tree straight and in its stand can be one of the more stressful parts of Christmas. Here are a few tips for getting your tree ready for ornaments, while also ensuring longevity of its color and form.
Make a Fresh Cut
Many tree farms and home and garden centers will make a fresh cut for you before you take your tree home. If you choose to do it yourself instead, start by cutting between half an inch and one inch off the bottom of your tree’s trunk. Making an even cut now will make getting your tree in the stand even easier.
Drilling a Hole
While some tree stands require you to drill a hole in the trunk of the tree to center it on its base, there is no need to drill a hole for water consumption.
Stauffers Home & Garden stores offer both cutting and drilling services at no charge when you purchase a fresh cut tree. Additionally, we will bag and load your tree.
How to Keep a Christmas Tree Fresh & Green
For those who like to decorate early, keeping your tree fresh and green throughout the holiday season is crucial. Once cut, Christmas trees will slowly begin to wilt and lose their bright green color. With these easy tips, you can keep your Christmas tree looking beautiful from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Watering Your Christmas Tree
If you’re wondering how to make a Christmas tree last as long as possible, the simple answer is water. Water your tree every day, at least for the first two weeks after being cut. This is when trees take up the most water, which is why getting a fresh-cut tree is so important.
While trees can drink up to a gallon of cool water per day, the general rule is that they will drink one quart for every inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a trunk that is three inches across at the base would need three quarts of water per day.
Wilt-Stop is a plant-protecting spray that can help your Christmas greenery keep its color throughout the holiday season. It prevents your tree from losing moisture by creating a protective coating over its needles. This will keep your tree looking fresh and also prevent it from dropping needles prematurely.
Wilt-Stop is made from the resin of pine trees, which means that it is a great, non-toxic way to make Christmas trees last longer. In addition to using Wilt-Stop on your Christmas tree, you can use it for any other holiday greenery around your home, from wreaths to garlands.
Recycling Your Christmas Tree
While many counties and municipalities have Christmas tree pick-up services, there are a number of ways to reuse and recycle your Christmas tree in the new year. With these tips, you can make your Christmas tree last even longer.
Shelter for Backyard Wildlife
Give birds, chipmunks, and other backyard creatures a little extra shelter from the cold this winter by taking your Christmas tree outside once you’re done with it. You can lean it up against a fence or another tree, or lay it on its side to provide a home for rabbits and other animals. Just make sure to place it away from your house to prevent any animals from trying to join you in your heated home.
Turn Your Tree Into Mulch
If you have a garden, you can use your Christmas tree to keep the roots of your perennials warm over the cold months. There are two ways to utilize branches as mulch, and neither require a wood chipper or shredder.
To protect perennials, you can simply clip a few small branches from the tree and lay them on top of the soil around your plants. This will keep the roots warm all winter long.
You can use pine needles to help protect your plants and keep moisture in your soil. Simply cut a branch off and shake or wipe the needles off. If they don’t fall off easily, give your tree another day outside without water.