christmas tree

christmas tree

If you want to decorate your home with a real Christmas tree, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep your tree green, healthy, and safe this Christmas. In order to keep the characteristic scent of a coniferous tree for a long time, proper care is important.

Pick the right tree

Pick a healthy tree.

It is best to buy your tree directly from a tree nursery, where you have the opportunity to take a freshly felled tree with you. This tree will last significantly longer than one that was felled weeks ago and then transported through various middlemen.

Don’t choose a tree that has a lot of dry or brown needles.

These trees are mostly too old. Gently brush a branch of the tree to see if the needles are still flexible and not falling off. Another trick: lift the tree up a bit and put it down. If the outer green needles fall off, then you had better choose another tree.

Make space in your house

Find a bright spot for the tree.

It should not be placed near an open fire or heat so that it does not dry out as quickly. Trees are flammable, so use caution (see warnings below). For example, the tree can stand in a corner so that it does not get hit. If you want to decorate your tree with lights, then you should place it close to an electrical outlet or use an extension cord. If you use an extension cord, make sure it runs along the wall and doesn’t become a tripping hazard.

Cover the ground where you want the tree to stand.

You can use an extra-sewn tree blanket, paper with a Christmas theme, or silk fabric for this. The blanket is not only decorative but will also protect your floor from possible water splashes. If you have a blanket that goes over the tree stand, you can still put a protective blanket underneath. A blanket over the tree stand not only looks decorative but also prevents pets from drinking the water from the stand, for example.

Put up the tree

Prepare the tree stand.

With a hand saw, you can saw off about 2 cm from the tree trunk so that it absorbs the water better. You should not cut the tree at an angle, trim it to a point, or poke a hole in its trunk. The tree will not absorb the water any better and it can also be more difficult to attach the tree trunk to the stand so securely. Do not saw the log with an interchangeable saw or with a saw blade that moves so fast that it creates a lot of friction. The heat will close the tree pores so they can no longer absorb water. A chainsaw or hand saw works best.

Set up your tree within 8 hours of sawing off a section of the trunk.

That’s how long a tree can go without fresh water without suffering. A Christmas tree should never be set up dry. You can put it in a bucket filled with water in the meantime. You can buy special tree stands that screw into the tree trunk and have enough space for water storage, or you can try the slightly simpler but tried and true method: put the tree in a bucket and fill the bucket around the trunk with rocks. The tree should receive one liter of water for every inch of log standing in water. No matter which variant you prefer: you should be sure that your tree is stable and not wobbly. Don’t cut off the bark of the tree so that the trunk fits better in the stand – the bark absorbs the most water.

Check that the tree is straight.

It is best to set up the tree with at least two people, so one can hold it straight while the other tightens the screws on the stand. Always back up a few steps to make sure the tree is actually straight before you start decorating it because this is the easiest time to straighten it.

Safe tree decoration

Decorate the tree.

For most, this is the best moment, but you should take some safety precautions here as well. A well-cared-for tree shouldn’t be a fire trap if you keep a few things in mind when decorating it. For example: Check all parts of the light chain to make sure all bulbs are working properly. Check the cords to make sure they have not been damaged or chewed by pets and that the plugs are secure. It’s better to keep your hands off decorations that you have doubts about and rather get new decorations. This is definitely cheaper for you than possibly completely redesigning your house. Hang small and fragile decorative items out of the reach of small children and pets to avoid accidental breakage or choking.

Tree care

Water your tree

You should give your tree enough water in the first few hours because it will absorb a lot of water in the beginning (maybe up to 3.5 liters on the first day). After that, you should top up the water every day if possible. Not only is the water good for keeping your tree greener longer, it also makes it less flammable: a well-watered tree isn’t as dry and therefore less flammable. Make sure your tree doesn’t go without water. Some people add a little aspirin to the water to keep it fresh. Others add ginger ale, sprite, or other fizzy drinks, but beware: if you accidentally spill water, your gifts could get pretty sticky.

Check for resin regularly.

You should regularly check if the resin has run out of your tree and can stain your floor or furniture. The sooner you spot the sap, the easier it is to get rid of.

Pick up the fallen needles.

Use a feather duster or a handheld vacuum. (A large vacuum cleaner can clog up quickly if there are many needles and even break the motor. With a smaller vacuum cleaner, you will have to empty the bag regularly). If you don’t want to see a huge mountain of needles under your tree, you should vacuum up the needles daily. After all, they don’t look pretty and pose a risk to pets and small children. Even though a well-watered tree sheds fewer needles, it’s normal for Christmas trees to shed a few needles.

Discard the tree

Dispose of the tree as garden waste.

Your tree has played a big part in making your Christmas brighter. If your garbage disposal has a tree collection program, you should use it. If you have enough garden space, you can save your tree until spring (if you live in a country where Christmas is in the summer, you don’t have to wait) and process your tree into garden mulch. Some people dispose of their old Christmas trees in a lake. If you live in a warm area, your tree could provide a good hiding place for fish and other underwater creatures. However, you should check with local authorities or the lake property owners before disposing of your tree in the water.

Final tips

LED lights are good for not heating up the tree much and also saving electricity. Turn off lights when you don’t need them to save electricity and reduce the risk of fire. If possible, avoid using treated water or decalcified water to water your tree. Decalcified water usually has high levels of sodium, which will shorten the lifespan of your tree. If possible, use water that isn’t treated or softened, otherwise, you can use distilled or bottled water, although bottled water can also have high sodium levels (but still less than softened water). Never leave the Christmas tree lights on when you go outside, as the tree could catch fire. If you are out or traveling, ask a neighbor to check regularly that the lights are not overheating. If you accidentally leave your tree without water, it can quickly become dry and lose its needles. The only way to save it is to saw off another piece of its trunk and then water it properly. Get the latest Christmas deals here.

Final warnings

You should not push your tree into a chipper. The mixture of needles and resin could clog it and clean up can be complicated. Never leave the lights on when no one is home or when everyone is asleep. Be careful when watering when electricity is nearby. Don’t overload your circuits. Dogs and cats love knocking over Christmas trees and making a mess. If you have pets, keep them away from the room the tree is in or pet-proof your tree. Keep flammable or heatable objects away from the tree, e.g. candles, TV, radio, heaters, etc.