If you aren’t quite ready for the tree trimming festivities, trim about ¼-inch from the bottom of the trunk and put the tree in a bucket of water. Store the tree in a cool area away from wind. When the time has come and you’re ready to bring the tree indoors, trim another ¼ to ½-inch from the bottom of the trunk. The fresh cut will ensure the tree takes up water.
Take a Stand!
Fill the Christmas tree stand with cold water. Be sure the stand is large enough for your tree. As a general rule, the stand should hold a quart of water for each inch of diameter at the base of the trunk. This is really important. If the stand is too small, get a larger stand (or a smaller tree!) If possible, purchase a stand that holds a gallon of water; you won’t be sorry!
A stable, heavy duty stand is worth the cost and will save you from tipping trees, broken ornaments, and other travails that might be hilarious on Funniest Home Videos, but probably not so funny when it happens to you!
Don’t remove bark or whittle the sides of the trunk to make the tree fit the stand. Those outer layers allow the tree to efficiently take up water.
Water, Water and More Water
Check the tree every day, especially for the first few days when the tree may drink up to 2 quarts of water per day. Be sure the base of the tree is submerged. Remember that your pets may be slurping up water too.
By the way, don’t bother with commercial Christmas tree preservative. You might like an aspirin or a splash of vodka, but it make your tree last longer. Cool, clean water is the best thing you can use.
After Christmas: Now What?
Don’t put your tree in the trash when the holidays are over. Even dry, tired Christmas trees have a purpose when they are chipped or shredded for mulch. Most areas have a curbside pickup for trees, or you can haul them to a recycling center. Another way to do good with that tree? Many Boy Scout troops offer to haul that tree away for a five dollar donation.
If you have a chipper, you can place the tree in your backyard for a few weeks. Leave popcorn or cranberry strings in place, or toss out a few orange slices. However, be sure to remove tinsel and metal hooks.