Keep your cut Christmas tree alive during the holiday season

When it comes to Christmas trees, there’s nothing like the real thing.  In fact about 25 – 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year.  When you bring a live tree into your dwelling during the holiday season-yes, a cut Christmas tree is very much alive despite being severed from its roots-you need to keep its tissues hydrated, which affects it longevity.  Over time water is lost through the needles.  Eastern red cedar and Atlantic white cedar dry out rapidly, while Fraser fir and noble fir lose water much more slowly.

Water can be replaced via the cut end of the trunk.  To facilitate this make a fresh cut an inch from the end of the trunk before you put your tree in a water-filled tree stand.  Experiments with additives such as floral preservatives, sugar, and 7-Up® have shown to provide no benefit over pure water, but the tree stand must never be allowed to dry out.

How long a cut tree survives depends on the freshness of the tree when purchased, and how long it is kept moist. A friend of mine from New Hampshire kept his cut balsam fir in a cool room with ample water long after the holidays.  In fact, it actually put out several inches of fresh needles in early March.  It may seem unusual for my friend to keep a Christmas tree for that length of time, but it makes sense for someone who never takes down his Christmas decorations.

Bob Polomski 2014 (c)


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