Top 10 tips for caring for real Christmas trees
Depending on size and variety, most Christmas trees will have been lovingly nurtured for over 5-10 years before being sold, so they deserve to continue being as well looked after. Here we explore some top tips to keep your Christmas tree looking beautiful throughout the festive season.
- When you first bring your cut tree home (before bringing inside), cut 3cm off the base of the tree and place in a bucket of water. This will give your tree a good pep up and help it store some water for the weeks ahead.
- Ideally, use a stand that holds water. Your tree will need water throughout its life with you.
- Check your tree once a day to make sure the base of the trunk is still sub-merged in water, and top up if it’s not. And yes, you really do need to check every day: you’d be amazed how much water a thirsty tree can drink.
- If your tree is very full, consider trimming some branches back to the trunk. This will give your tree a more graceful appearance, reduce the number of branches which need water and give you trimmings to use elsewhere, perhaps for decorating the fireplace or front door.
- Christmas trees dry out with heat; keep your tree away from heat sources like the fireplace and radiators. Warmth is a wonderful part of Christmas: everything from a good fire to a nice blanket whilst it’s snowing outside. However, your tree might disagree. The higher the room temperature, the quicker the tree will dry out, and the more needles you’ll lose. Where you can, keep the tree away from heat.
- Inspect light sets and test them prior to placing them on the tree. This saves wasted time and having to disrupt your tree too much. If your lights are worn, consider replacing with a new set. Whenever you head to bed, turn off all of the lights. Again, bulbs can heat up over time, and are likely to get pretty toasty by the end of the day. This isn’t good for the tree. Turning off the lights will give your tree a chance to cool overnight.
- Put your tree up at least a few hours before you decorate it to allow the branches to drop down or “settle” into their natural position. It really helps when decorating and getting a nice even look.
- Add an aspirin to the water or use distilled water - these are said to help prevent needle drop. Just be careful to ensure nothing (other than your tree) drinks this water!
- Consider covering the base of your tree with a tree skirt. It'll finish off everything nicely. Depending in the type you buy, it can also add stability.
- After Christmas, take down the tree and remove from the house. Cut trees if properly cared for (using these steps) should last at least four weeks before drying out. Remember, rather than chucking your tree out, you can dispose of it in a more environmentally friendly way. Keep your Christmas green and check if your council offers a tree recycling service. Even if they don’t, put the tree into your garden waste recycling bin, but remember you might have to chop it up first!