How to Take Care of a Live Christmas Tree The Ultimate Guide

How to Take Care of a Live Christmas Tree: The Ultimate Guide

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Christmas is a time for family, friends, and of course, Christmas trees! If you have a live tree this year, make sure to take care of it properly so that it lasts not only to Christmas Day but through the whole holiday season. In this guide, we will go over the steps you need to take to ensure that your tree stays healthy and looks good. Follow these tips and your tree will be the star of the show!

How To Make A Christmas Tree Last Longer

Choosing your Christmas tree and then caring for it to ensure that it lasts through the holiday season is a bit of an art. With some planning and preparation, you can bring home the perfect tree and enjoy it for several weeks, until at least New Year’s.

How to Take Care of a Live Christmas Tree The Ultimate GuideHow Long Does A Real Christmas Tree Last?

How long can you keep a live Christmas tree inside? Knowing this will help you to plan when to get your tree. If you follow all the tips below and pay close attention to your tree, it should last about four to five weeks.

How Early Can You Get A Real Christmas Tree?

Buying your tree close to Christmas Eve does not necessarily mean you’re getting a fresh-cut tree. On the other hand, you don’t want to buy too early because you want the tree to last through the holiday season.

Plan to collect your tree a week before you want to put it up. Keep it in an unheated place such as a garage, shed, greenhouse, or enclosed porch to allow it to acclimate. If you take a healthy tree from a snowy tree farm directly into your lovely warm home, the shock will be too much for it and it won’t last as long as it could. Keep it in a bucket of water during this transition time to keep the Christmas tree fresh.

Choose The Best Location For Your Christmas Tree

A dry tree won’t last the holiday season, and if it’s really dry, it may become a potential fire hazard. You need to pick the best spot for your Christmas tree to sit for the holidays.

  • Choose a position in filtered light away from sunny windows.
  • Keep the tree at least 3 feet or more away from heat sources such as space heaters, heating ducts, the fireplace, hot lights, candles, the TV, the furnace or any other source of flame. Air vents or open windows and doors allowing breezes into the area where the tree is will cause the tree to dry out a lot faster than it should. A cool corner will keep it fresh.
  • Ensure that your tree does not block any exits in case of emergency.

How to Take Care of a Live Christmas Tree The Ultimate Guide

Christmas Tree Fire Safety

We’ve got a full list of tips for keeping your Christmas tree from being a fire hazard. Here are the main tips:

  • As noted above, choose a location for your tree that is well away from heat sources.
  • Keep your tree well-watered. A dry tree is much more prone to catching fire.
  • Ensure that you only use lights and decorations that have been tested and proven to be flame-retardant.
  • Check your light strings each year for frayed wires; it is possible that small animals could have been chewing on them throughout the year. If the light strings are past their usable life, replace them.
  • Don’t string together more than 3 sets of lights so you don’t overload any electrical sockets.
  • Use strands of lights with tiny bulbs. The bigger bulbs are a heat source and help to dry your tree out quicker. LED lights give off less heat.
  • Turn off all of your Christmas tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug them if convenient.
  • Check that your home’s smoke alarms are in working order.
  • Consider a heat alarm for your Christmas tree.
  • Remove your tree from your house before it dries out. It’ll also be less messy because there will be fewer fallen needles.

What Size Christmas Tree Stand Do I Need?

Once you decide the size of the tree you’re aiming for, you can decide on the size of the tree stand. Look for a stand that is easy to set up and keeps the tree upright. It also needs to hold enough water; the water reservoir needs to hold a quart of water for each inch of trunk thickness. Christmas tree stands ensure that Christmas trees last by supplying water.

A good tree stand will have room for a gallon of water but check the Christmas tree water at least every day. The water level is critical for the length of time that the tree lasts. The rate of absorption will vary on a day-to-day basis. Even if the stand is almost full one day, it could be nearly empty the next day.

Of course, the stand needs to take the trunk diameter of the tree. The circumference of the trunk depends on the species of the tree. A 5-foot tree will have a trunk of about 5 inches. The thickness gradually increases with the height of the tree, and the trunk of a 9-foot tree will be around 6 inches.

You won’t be able to take the sides off your tree to make it fit. That would remove the hardwood, leaving only the soft wood.  If the screws of your stand are in the soft wood, it will not be able to hold your tree upright.

Take your tape measure and your tree stand with you when you select your tree to make sure you get the right size.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Smells The Best?

  • In general, a Fir will smell the most fragrant. Specifically, the Balsam Fir keeps its pleasing aroma through the Christmas season. The Balsam Fir grows in hardiness zones 3 to 5.
  • The needles of the Douglas-Fir have a sweet citrus fragrance when crushed. The Douglas-Fir grows in hardiness zones 4 to 6.
  • White Pine trees have no smell at all, and the needles of the White Spruce and the Colorado Blue Spruce smell bad when crushed.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Lasts The Longest?

The Concolor Fir lasts very well but is hard to locate for sale.   The Fraser Fir is the next best in terms of lasting, as long as it is looked after well. Both of these trees grow in hardiness zones 4 to 7.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Is Best For Allergies?

If you or someone in your family has allergies, a Leyland Cypress would a good choice. The Leyland Cypress grows in hardiness zones 6 to 10.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Has The Strongest Branches?

The best Christmas tree for heavy ornaments would be either the Fraser Fir or the Noble Fir. They each have stiff, sturdy branches. The Noble Fir grows in hardiness zones 5 to 6 and the Fraser Fir grows in hardiness zones 4 to 7.

The Colorado Blue Spruce has very stiff branches, but the needles are very prickly. Gloves are generally needed to trim the tree, and children and pets need to be kept away. The Colorado Blue Spruce grows in hardiness zones 2 to 7.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Is Tall And Skinny?

The Douglas-Fir is skinny at the bottom and tall. The Douglas-Fir grows in hardiness zones 4 to 6.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Sheds The Least?

  • The Fraser Fir has good needle retention. It grows in hardiness zones 4 to 7.
  • The needles of the Nordman Fir (zones 5 to 6) and Scotch Pine (zones 3 to 7) don’t drop at all.
  • The needles on the Norway spruce drop earlier than other Christmas trees.

Looking After A Real Christmas Tree

The main thing to remember regarding the maintenance of real Christmas trees is that the biggest enemy of your tree is drying out. You need to ensure that your tree is able to draw water, and then you need to supply that water.

Why Does A Christmas Tree Stop Drinking Water?

When a tree is cut, it immediately releases sap to heal the wound. The sap will block the tree from being able to absorb water. Like human beings, trees are made up of about 50% water. It needs to have access to lifesaving fluids, or it will start to dry out immediately. That section at the base of the tree trunk needs to be cut off.

Your Christmas Tree’s First Day At Home

After you get the Christmas tree home, if not already done, you need to make a fresh cut at the base of the tree. The half or a quarter-inch section at the very bottom of the tree needs to be cut off. Saw the tree straight across in a flat cut. A V-shaped or diagonal cut reduces water retention and also makes the tree unstable in its stand.

Put the tree in some water as soon as you arrive home. Keep the trunk submerged during this period and check the water level often. The water level should never be allowed to go below the bottom of the tree.

How Long Does A Christmas Tree Need To Settle?

As noted above, the tree needs time to acclimate before you move it into your heated home. Keep it in your garage or enclosed porch for the first week, away from the wind and out of the freezing cold. These areas are not as cold as outside, but they are cooler than inside. It will give your tree time to get used to the idea that its world is growing warmer.

Bringing The Christmas Tree Indoors

  • Before bringing your tree inside, giving it a good hosing down is advisable. This will get rid of most dust and mold spores, as well as insects and their eggs. This is especially important if you or a family member suffer from allergies. Allow your tree to dry before it comes inside, if possible, let the sun do its work.
  • Prune the lowest branches off and consider how much room you want under the tree for gifts.
  • Put the tree in an old sheet or tree bag to stop needles shedding over you’re your floor. Take it to your chosen location inside your house.
  • Keep the sheet or tree bag handy for after the Christmas season; you can use it to remove the tree from your house with no mess.

Setting Up Your Tree In The Stand

  • While the tree is lying on the floor, put the tree stand on and secure the screws.
  • Tilt the tree and bring it up to a standing position.
  • Remove the sheet or bag and unbundle the tree.
  • Check to see if it’s standing up straight and adjust the screws accordingly.
  • Pour in as much water as the tree stand will take.

Extend The Life Of Your Tree With Water

Caring for a Christmas tree is all about making sure it doesn’t dry out. Keep your Christmas tree wet to keep the tree fresh. Real trees need water.

Check the water level at least every day; the tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day. If it starts to dry out, it loses its ability to drink and will fade very quickly. Don’t let your beautiful tree dry out.

An easy way to water your tree is to use a right-hand funnel. It has a funnel on top of a tube. You slide the tube inside your tree near the trunk and then put the water into the funnel. Just make sure it’s long enough for your tree and stand. This one is 10.5 inches long.

10.5-Inch Right Angle Funnel To Water Your Thirsty Christmas Tree
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03/10/2024 12:00 pm GMT

If the funnel is not long enough, here is a Christmas tree watering funnel that is 39 inches long.

Jack Post Christmas Tree Watering Funnel
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03/10/2024 11:37 am GMT

If you need a monitor for the water level in your Christmas tree, this one is well regarded by Amazon customers.

Christmas Tree Water Level Monitor
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02/19/2024 01:26 pm GMT

If you’re looking for a Christmas tree watering system, this one is highly rated.

Automatic Christmas Tree Watering System Device
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Water Mixture For Your Christmas Tree

There are many different opinions about whether to add a Christmas tree solution to preserve it for as long as possible.

A lot of experts say that ordinary tap water is all you need. As long as the tree is kept well-watered, it should last the maximum time.

Maybe your family has a traditional additive for your tree stand such as pennies, sugar, 7-Up, bleach, aspirin, or fertilizer. You can experiment, but don’t kill your tree with large amounts of chemicals.

Why Does My Christmas Tree Smell Bad?

Sometimes, bacteria in the tree stand reservoir causes the water to give off a bad odor. It may be so bad that you need to replace the water.

  • Use a wet/dry vacuum to get the water out, or you could siphon it out, the same way you would get gas out of your car’s tank.
  • Wipe out the reservoir.
  • Mix a couple of teaspoons of baking soda for each quart of water to prevent further odors.


Well, it seems like a lot of work, this business of having a real Christmas tree. But, speaking from personal experience, there is nothing so thrilling as walking into my living room to the gorgeous fragrance and that beautiful tree.

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