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Setting Up Your Christmas Tree

Okay, so you’ve found the perfect Christmas tree, brought it home and managed to get it off the roof of your SUV without damaging either the tree or your vehicle.  Now what?

If you are not going to put the tree up immediately in the house, store it in a cool, dark place, such as a garage.  If the storage room is above freezing, placing the base of the tree in water will prolong its freshness.  Cut the base of the tree at a slight angle about 1 inch about the old cut, then place the base in the water.

Before you bring the tree into the house, select the display location carefully.  (Refer to our Christmas Tree Safety Page for hints on selecting the perfect place for your tree.)  Do not set the tree over or under a heat vent, nor near a fireplace.  A location away from a window also is preferred.  Keeping the tree in a cool location will reduce water loss and extend the freshness of the tree.

Another important consideration is to have a good tree stand such as the Answer Stand sold at Bill’s Tree Lot.  Your tree stands should hold at least a gallon of water to prevent the tree from drying out.   It is not uncommon for a fresh cut tree to take up to ¼ to ½ gallon of water a day during the first week and perhaps a total of 3 to 7 gallons over a four-week period.

When the tree is brought in, cut the base of the tree about one inch above the original cut.  The original cut is usually filled with sap and will not readily absorb water.  The new cut will open the pores and quickly allow water to be carried up to the needles.

Once the tree is securely set in the stand, add water.  The temperature of the water is not important.  People once believed that warm water would be taken up quicker into the stem, however, studies have shown that there is no difference in uptake between cold, cool, warm, and hot water.

Maintaining a supply of water to the tree's base is the most important way to keep the tree fresh.  Studies have shown that a tree left without water will dry out in 8 to 14 days, while a tree with constant supply of water can maintain fresh needles 30 days or more.  However, certain tree, like spruce, may begin to drop needles after 3 weeks, even with good care.



Here's how to maintain your tree's fragrance and prevent mass needle fallout:

When you buy your tree, have an inch cut off the base to make it easier for the tree to take in water.

If you don't plan to put the tree up right away, place the tree in a bucket of warm water and stand it in an unheated garage or porch away from the wind and cold.

When you bring your tree inside, use a stand that holds at least one gallon of water.  Ask about the Answer Stand at the lot and Bill or one of his sales staff will be glad to show you why we chose these tree stands to sell year after year.

Keep your tree well-watered. Water prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and maintains the fragrance. Trees may use several quarts a day, so check the water level in the stand every few hours.

Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree or the cut end may seal over, preventing further water intake. If this happens, take the tree down and make a fresh cut.



The best way to avoid a major mess is to prepare to take your tree down before you even put it up. Just place a plastic tree bag (ask for one when purchasing your tree) underneath the stand, which you can hide with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, sweep them up; needles can clog vacuum cleaners.