‘Tis the season for shopping, baking, and DIY gifts. It’s also the time of year when you may be struggling to keep your tree looking lively for a few more days.
It seems like some years you’re ready to part ways before your tree shows any signs of aging. Other years your tree begins turning brown a week after to secure it into the stand.
There’s no magic cure when this happens, but there are a few things you can do to try to minimize the damage and slow the demise of your Christmas tree.
Keep the Water Coming
Water is the most important ingredient in the happy-tree equation.
As soon as you get your tree home, plop it into water and ensure it remains in several inches of water, checking it every day.
Some days it may chug a gallon of water and the next it may seem that it’s stopping taking nourishment altogether. Regardless, check your tree every day and refill as necessary.
Recut the Base
A tree begins producing a protective coating over a cut area within hours of being cut down.
If you bought your tree off a lot several days after being cut down, or you got it home where it sat dehydrating in the driveway, it might be difficult to encourage it to drink more water.
If you haven’t yet put the tree in a stand, recut the base using a power or manual saw. You don’t have to remove a lot of wood. The goal is just to shave off the protective coating so it will absorb water.
If your tree is already decorated, it’s very inconvenient to recut the base. Obviously it requires removing many of the decorations in order to lay it down and make the cut.
But, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do if your tree refuses to drink.
Add a Preservative
The use of preservatives for trees and plants is hotly debated. Some say it’s just a sales ploy while others swear by the effectiveness.
Preservatives are basically sugar along with something acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice.
To make your own Christmas tree preservative, mix together one gallon of water, two cups of corn syrup, and four teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice.
You can make your preservative ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator to add throughout the season.
Cut off the Dead Portions
There’s no reason to try to feed a dead horse, so if specific spots on your tree are brown and needleless, cut your losses.
The tree naturally tries to carry water and nutrients to all parts, healthy or unhealthy.
Cutting out dead branches helps the tree absorb nutrients more efficiently rather than working to nourish the dead bit.
If cutting away a portion or an entire branch leaves an awkward-looking hole, fill the gap with dangling ornaments, lights, candy canes, or ribbon.
Move Away from Heat
Trees are accustomed to cold outdoor weather so it’s a bit of a shock for them to end up in a warm, cozy home.
When you place your tree, keep it away from windows in the path of hot sunlight (if you’re blessed with such a thing this time of year).
Also avoid placing your tree next to a fireplace, gas or wood stove, and wall heaters.
If you’re tree’s looking unhappy, move it away from these sources and mist the tree to keep it cool.
Also consider adding a humidifier to the room so the tree can draw moisture from the air.
Never Leave Lights on
Begin by selecting lights that stay cool. Lights that get hot to the touch will contribute to drying out the freshest of trees. A few weeks in and you’ve got a ready-made tinderbox.
Regardless of the current state of your tree, never leave lights on when you’re not home or after you go to bed.
While it might seem festive to delight passersby with your twinkling delight, a Christmas tree fire is about the least festive thing you can receive this season.
In the end, you may be band-aiding your brown Christmas tree together until the last gift has been opened, but with a bit of special care, you’ll make it there together.
Dawn Hammon has thrived in freelance writing and editor roles for nearly a decade. She has lived, worked, and attended school in Oregon for many years. Dawn currently spends her days convincing her children she is still smarter than them while creating new experiences with her husband of 24 years.&nbsp;
Her multiple interests have led her to frequently undergo home improvement projects. She enjoys sharing the hard-earned knowledge that comes with it with the audience of DoItYourself.com. Dawn and her sister make up a power-tool loving duo that teaches classes to local women with the goal of empowering them to tackle their fears and become comfortable with power tools.
Tapping into her enthusiasm for saving money and devotion to sustainable practices, Dawn has recently launched a passion project aimed at connecting eco-friendly products and socially-responsible companies with consumers interested in making conscientious purchases, better informing themselves about products on the market, and taking a stand in favor of helping to save the planet.
When she is not providing stellar online content for local, national, and international businesses or trolling the internet for organic cotton clothing, you might find her backpacking nearby hills and valleys, traveling to remote parts of the globe, or expanding her vocabulary in a competitive game of Scrabble.
Dawn holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, which these days she mostly uses to provide therapy for her kids and spouse. Most recently, I worked for a small local professional organizing and estate sale company for four years where I learned a ton about organizing and/or disposing of just about anything.
She was raised in a tool-oriented, hands-on, DIY family. Her dad worked in the floor covering business and owned local floor covering businesses, so of course selling floor covering was one of her first jobs. Her brother was a contractor for about 30 years and site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity. I worked with him often, building decks, painting houses, framing in buildings, etc. With her sister, she holds power tool classes to empower women who are scared or have never used them.
Not quite homesteaders, she did grow up with a farm, tractors, motorcycles, expansive gardens, hay fields, barns, and lots of repairs to do. Plus she and her family preserved foods, raised cattle and pigs, chopped and hauled firewood, and performed regular maintenance on two households, outbuildings, fencing, etc.
As an adult, she has owned two houses. The first one she personally ripped out a galley kitchen and opened it up to the living area, plus updated every door, floor covering, and piece of trim in the place. In her current home, she's tackled everything from installing real hardwood flooring to revamping the landscape.