O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree… we wish you wouldn’t shed your branches!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree… how do we keep you from turning brown?
Christmas trees are just one exciting tradition of the festive holiday season, and as much as they are beautiful they are often associated with numerous small frustrations that can be thought of as a burden to this already stressful time of year. The falling needles, the constant watering and did we mention the poking, falling needles? Yes, having a real tree does require some extra love (and vacuuming!), but it also radiates the holiday happiness that this time of year also brings. Whether you’re cutting one down yourself or shopping for it in a parking lot, we’ve created a few tips to help you have the greenest, healthiest looking tree yet!
Step One: Choose a Healthy, Fresh Tree
This means you’ll want to keep an eye out for a healthy, proud standing tree right from the beginning – there’s no need to try and revive an old, brown one before you even cut it down. An easy way to check the freshness level is by gently shaking your tree; the fewer needles that fall off, the healthier it is. Another tell-tale sign is no brown needles, and a tree that would have resided more in the shade than in the sun, either in the forest or in the parking lot.
Step Two: Make a Clean Cut x3
When you are cutting down your tree for the first time, try to make as clean of a cut as possible and on a slight angle – even if the difficultly of laying on the ground and trying to keep the branches out of your face gets in the way.
Then, when you get home you’ll want to make a fresh one-inch flat cut off the end and place the tree in a bucket of warm water – especially if you’re not putting it up right away or are waiting for the branches to fall down naturally, if it’s been wrapped and purchased from a Tree Lot. This cut helps to remove any dried resin that could hinder the tree from absorbing water.
Finally, before you bring it inside (and after it’s warm soak) cut one final inch off the trunk, and place in the tree stand filled with water.
Step Three: Water, Water and more Water
As a rule of thumb, always keep the water level well above the base of the tree trunk, and check it regularly. It’s not uncommon to see certain species of trees consume over 3L of water within the first day. If the water level drops below the tree trunk, it could create dried resin which will again hinder your tree from getting the h2o it needs, causing it to dry up quicker and not live out the long life it deserves.
Step Four: Place your Tree in the House Carefully
While a lot of us just place the tree in a convenient spot in our homes, we often don’t think about the various heat sources it should be kept away from. Avoid putting your tree next to the heat vents, fireplaces, space heaters or television sets. If your house is particularly dry, you could even run a humidifier.
Christmas Tree Lights: Another way to avoid your tree from drying out (and eliminating a fire hazard) is to always unplug your Christmas tree lights, and never have them turned on if you’re not home.
Step Five: Take Down the Tree BEFORE it Dies
If you show your tree some love, and it never goes thirsty, it will remain reasonably fresh and should last up to five weeks before drying up. If you remove the tree before it turns too brown or brittle you also won’t end up with half of the tree on your floor as it makes the journey outside. Remember to recycle your tree – sometimes the local Boy Scouts groups will have a drop off day for retired Christmas trees at Canadian Tire in Squamish (check their facebook post here), or if you’re in Whistler stop by the Nester’s Depot to see if they will take them off your hands.