Tree Care Tips
When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water.
With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your displayed
trees for 4 to 6 weeks. Below are a number of tips relating to the care of
- Displaying trees in water is the most effective way of
maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss
- In selecting a tree, make sure that the "handle" at the
bottom is long enough to allow the trunk to fit into you
tree stand. Otherwise, it will be necessary to remove large
branches near the base, which could ruin its appearance.
- Make a fresh cut to remove a 1/4" to 1" thick disk of
wood 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, which
makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand
and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
If you use a "center pin" stand, make sure the hole is
drilled in the stem after it is trimmed
- Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible.
Most species can go 6-8 hours after cutting the trunk and
still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it
- If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several
days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a
bucket that is kept full of water. The tree may need to be
supported in some manner to keep if from tipping over.
- To display the trees indoors, use a 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. Devices are available that help maintain a
constant water level in the stand.
- Use a stand that fits your tree. Some stands have
circular rings at the top, so the ring must be large enough
for the trunk to go through the hole. Other stands are open,
which may allow a greater range in trunk size. 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.
- Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat
(fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering
the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting
in less water consumption each day.
- 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. With many
stands, there can still be water in the stand even though
the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not
improve water uptake.
- Applying film-forming anti-transpirants to the tree does
not have a significant effect on the rate of moisture loss
from the tree. These products supposedly block the
evaporation of water from the surface of foliage, but in
reality they have little effect.
- Adding water-holding gels to the stand is not beneficial
and they can reduce the amount of water in the stand that is
available to the tree.
- Do not use additives in the water, including floral
preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses,
sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, and other
concoctions. Clean water is all that is needed to maintain
- Displaying trees in water with proper care is the most
effective way of maintaining a tree's moisture. Some flame
retardants can damage needles and actually increase the rate
of moisture loss from trees.
- Use of miniature lights will produce much less heat and
reduce drying of the tree.
- Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the
tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
- Do not overload electrical circuits.
- Always turn off the lights when leaving the house or
when going to bed.
- Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if
the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
- Watch your local newspaper for tree recycling pick-up
In Torrington this is usually the second or third week of
January. All plastic bags and decorations must be
removed before pickup. For more information see the
Torrington home page.
- Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove