How to Make Your Christmas Tree Last an Extra 3 Weeks
Hint: the kitchen is your enemy
'Tis the season for decorating, wrapping, baking and…sweeping? How is it that those dreaded needles seem to disperse to the far corners of your living room every time you turn around? Here, eight ways to preserve your fir and keep that tree looking pretty well into the new year.
Feel the branches during selection. While choosing your tree at the local nursery, make sure to rub the needles. They shouldn’t feel brittle or break off in your hand but instead bounce back when you bend them.
Get a tree base that fits your tree. Cutting the sides of the trunk to fit it into the base is a big no-no, since the outer layers of the tree trunk are best at consuming water.
Be as gentle as possible during transportation. Long story short, the tree releases a hormone, called ethylene, that ages it. More of the hormone is released when it doesn’t get enough water or when it’s physically shaken around. So be gentle. Your wallpaper (and your Fraser fir) will thank you.
Cut half an inch off immediately before you stick it in the base. And make the cut perpendicular to the axis to get the most surface area for water intake. This fresh cut allows the tree to “drink” H2O more efficiently.
Water it every day. This is a no-brainer, but keeping water levels to about an inch below the top of the base is essential to extended tree life.
Use low-heat Christmas lights, and turn them off at night. LED lights emit low levels of heat and are therefore best for not drying out the tree. Also, save energy (and avoid fire hazards) by remembering to unplug the strings before bedtime.
Keep it in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. Don’t set up your tree near a fireplace or next to your heater, since the warm air can speed up the drying process and cause more needles to fall.
And never ever set it up in the kitchen. OK, this one sounds sorta sci-fi, but hear us out. The fruits in your kitchen give off the same gas, ethylene, which causes ripening. This extra gas can also “ripen” your tree, so avoid keeping any fruits near it, under it, on it, etc.