The holidays just aren’t complete without a Christmas tree to help get in the spirit of things. Besides, where else are you going to put all your presents until Christmas Day? To get the most out of your tree, there are some things you can do to keep it alive for longer over the holidays and avoid making a mess. When the holidays are over, you’ll also need to remove the tree, which can be tricky. Use these nifty hacks to make caring for your tree much easier and focus on enjoying the atmosphere without any fuss.
● Pick a dormant tree – When selecting trees for your yard or house, dormant trees are a good pick because they’re already hardened and ready for winter. These trees are “sleeping,” which makes them resistant to sunlight or heat, and makes the trees less of a fire hazard. Trees usually go dormant after a few deep frosts; time your search for a tree for after the frosts.
● Get it in water immediately – Get your tree in water as soon as you get home to preserve its freshness. Have a bucket ready at the front door (or in the garage if it’s below freezing outdoors) where you can place the trunk immediately. Cuts can very quickly be covered with sap, even in fresh trees, causing them to dry rapidly. Have the water prepared beforehand to keep the tree fresh from the moment it gets to the house.
● Check water levels regularly – Check the water level every day; if the water level drops too low, the stem will seal over the cut and make it harder for the tree to drink.
● Have a plastic snow saucer handy – Place a flat, plastic snow saucer under the base of the tree to catch any spilled water. The water can stain your floor and cause discolouration, which can be avoided with the snow saucer’s help. For added protection, add a carpet remnant under the saucer to catch more water and prevent scratching to the floor.
● Buy a tree bag – When you buy the tree, also get a tree bag for later. Before setting the tree up, slip the bag over the base of the tree (leave a slit so it can drink). When the time comes to remove the tree, you can pull the bag up and carry it without leaving a trail of needles all over the house.
● Cat-proof your tree – Trees can be falling hazards if pets and kids bump into or try to climb them. Use two or three lengths of fishing line to secure the tree and keep it from tipping over. Tie one end of the lines to the tree, and the other end to something secure (e.g. screws driven into the walls, mouldings, or curtain rods).
● Keep it away from heat – Put your tree far away from sources of heat that could make it dry out faster. These include fireplaces, heat registers, and even direct sunlight. To preserve the tree for longer, consider lowering the room temperature to slow the drying process even further. Trees can also be a fire hazard; keep constant vigilance over the tree to avoid a fire.
● Avoid additives – Pure water is best for helping trees maintain their freshness. Refrain from adding anything else to the water (e.g. floral preservatives, sugar, or aspirin). Some of these chemicals actually speed up water loss and increase needle loss, which can make a mess around the tree.