"Top 5" Checklist for a Good Relationship With Your Christmas Tree

You found the perfect Christmas tree. Everyone’s happy. Life is good. You can’t wait to add the lights, tinsel and ornaments. This could be the best tree ever.

True, the tree might be perfect now. But this isn’t a short-term relationship. You’re in this for at least two, three or four weeks. What will the tree look like then? Will you be as enamored when things sag, dry out and fall apart?

You can’t expect your partner in this relationship to not change. Everyone does. You can, however, take proactive steps to keep the tree (and your relationship) fresh as time goes by.

Our “Top 5” checklist for keeping your Christmas tree healthy can help. We don’t promise storybook endings; hopefully you’ll enjoy each other’s company along the way.

1)    Don’t get salty: Believe it or not, your tree’s longevity can be affected by the ride to your house. Salt sucks moisture out of a tree. If the roads you drove on in Brookfield, WI, were recently salted, the tree lashed atop your vehicle might have been exposed. The solution is to wash the tree to get rid of the salt; if it’s December in New Berlin or Elm Grove, though, this might not be feasible. Perhaps just keep this in mind when planning your tree shopping expedition.

Christmas tree in Brookfield, WI

2)    Start out clean: Chances are your tree stand has been sitting in an attic or closet for the past 11 months. It might have collected dirt or dust. Both clog the cells of a tree, preventing it from absorbing moisture. Rinse off the stand and start clean.

3)    Make a fresh cut: Cutting a few inches off the bottom of the tree’s trunk opens fresh pores, which soak up water and keep things fresh. Many tree lots will make a cut for you. Get the tree into water as soon as possible after cutting. If you can’t do so for an hour or more, consider making another fresh cut later.

4)    Avoid the heat: If possible, keep your tree away from heat vents, fireplaces or radiators. Direct heat accelerates the tree’s drying-out.

5)    Water daily: Use very hot water the first time you put your tree into its stand or a temporary bucket. Hot water absorbs better initially. You only need to do so once; room-temperature water is fine for filling the stand afterward. Be sure to check the water level daily, as very fresh trees can suck up a surprising amount.

Once your tree stops “drinking” water, expect it to begin dropping large amounts of needles in 10 to 14 days. Sadly, this signifies your relationship is coming to an end.

You can hang onto the tree longer – just know that, for all intents and purposes, things are over. Hopefully the relationship was great while it lasted. Never fear: You’ll have the opportunity for another one.


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