Make a Fresh Cut
Make a fresh cut on the butt of the tree when you get the tree home. This will open pores which have been clogged by sap. Cut off at least one-half inch. The freshly cut surface should be creamy white, not yellow or brown. If you do not make a fresh cut, the tree will not be able to absorb water. After the cut is made, put the tree in water. The longer the time between the fresh cut and when the tree is put in water, the sooner the pores clog, reducing the tree’s ability to absorb water. Even if a hole is drilled to accommodate a pin-type stand, fresh cut should be made.
Put in Water
If the tree will not be brought immediately into the home and decorated, it should be kept outside out of wind and sun with the base immersed in a pail of water. Add to this water a can of non-diet lemon-lime soda. Soda contains sugar, which aids in metabolism, and carbonation prevents bacteria from clogging pores. Before the tree is brought in the home, carefully rinse the water reservoir of the tree stand with a mixture of one tablespoon of bleach and one cup of water. This also minimizes the presence of micro-organisms that can block the tree’s ability to absorb water. Be sure your tree stand can hold at least one gallon of water. After rinsing, insert tree, and adjust. Then fill reservoir with liquid Keeps-It-Green® Christmas Tree Preservative or a home-made mixture of one gallon of water, one tablespoon of bleach and one can of non-diet lemon-lime soda. If you had purchased a Gunnard stand from us, please rinse it before bringing it to the nursery. We will not do that before sitting your tree in the stand.
Check the water level every day. Like cut flowers, cut trees continue to absorb water. An average tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, the pores will clog, preventing the tree from absorbing water. Continue adding non-diet lemon lime soda to the water or add Keeps-It-Green® Christmas Tree Preservative. If the tree is going into an environment with very low humidity, spraying it with Wilt Stop® the day before moving the tree indoors will help foliage retain moisture, keeping your tree looking fresh. Wegman’s can spray your tree with Wilt Stop® before you take it home if you wish.
Mini-Lights Produce Minimum Heat
Miniature lights produce much less heat and reduce the lights’ drying effect upon a tree. Always check light sets for frayed or cracked wire insulation and broken sockets before placing them on a tree. Do not attempt to repair a worn light set. Throw the defective light set away and buy a new set. Always turn off the lights on your tree when leaving the house or retiring for the night.
Keep Away from Heat Sources
To further decelerate the drying of your tree, place the tree away from heat sources such as heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves and fireplace inserts, radiators, television sets, or sunny windows. Situating your tree away from the former sources of heat will also help minimize the chances of your tree catching fire. For safety’s sake, be careful not to block a door with the tree or rearranged furniture to keep doors clear for traffic.
Remove the Tree Promptly
After Christmas, and before the tree dries completely, remove it from the house for pick-up by your local disposal service or your local chipping and compost program. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace unless it has been seasoned for a year.
Special Notes for Fire-Retarded and Flocked Trees
The chemicals used to fire-retard trees retard flame. They will not prevent your tree from erupting in flame should the tree encounter a significant or prolonged source of intense heat or fire. Fire-retarded trees will draw some water, so follow the above directions for keeping trees watered.
Flocked trees, on the other hand, do not draw water. Flocking also tends to retard flame, so it is generally unnecessary to undergo flame-retarding as well. If the tree is for a commercial or public building or space, however, the local Fire Marshal mandates that such trees be fire-retarded whether they are flocked.
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