6 ways to keep your Christmas tree fresh all season long


Oh, the holiday joy of a real Christmas tree - the smell of fresh pine from a freshly cut tree, all decked out merrily.

Of course, after finding the perfect tree, you want to be sure your tree remains vibrant through Christmas.

The good news is a few easy steps can help keep your live tree alive through the holidays.

Mark Andrew Czarnota is an associate professor and extension specialist at the University of Georgia (Ornamental, Small Fruit, and Christmas Tree Weed Control Specialist). He is also known for being a Christmas tree expert, and he provided us with the following six tips for maintaining a healthy fresh-cut Christmas tree. (His favorite is balsam fir, and he tries to get one fresh every year as long as he and his family are in town. The size of his tree is usually 8 to 10 feet.)

Buy a fresh tree. By far, the most important factor is to select a healthy, fresh-cut, well-maintained tree. Many of the pre-cut trees available in Georgia (fir species – Fraser, balsam, Douglas and noble) were cut in late October or November and are delivered to the stores right after Thanksgiving. Consider cutting your own tree – available from one of the many Christmas tree nurseries throughout the state; the Georgia Christmas Tree Association has an active list of growers: www.gacta.com.

Give it a fresh cut. When you are ready to move the tree into the house and decorate, make a fresh cut (about any inch) above the original cut. Avoid pruning the tree because the cuts can leak sap onto your lights, ornaments, gifts and floor.

Give it water. Once the tree is home, immediately put the cut end in water (5-gallon bucket of water). Make sure the tree never runs out of water. Place the tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water and make sure that the tree never runs out of water (check twice a day).

Keep it cool. Make sure to place the Christmas tree out of the direct sunlight and away from heat sources and heat registers. Make sure the tree is in a shady location away from direct sunlight.

RELATED: Your guide to the holidays, including food, shopping and more in Atlanta.

Tree disposal. Take down the tree before it dries completely and becomes a fire hazard. Czarnota doesn’t recommend leaving a fresh-cut tree up more than two weeks or maybe three weeks if starting with a fresh tree that is well-maintained. There are many ways to dispose of your tree once its usefulness is gone. Most cities have pickup or places to take trees for composting.

Make a tree of treats for wildlife. There are many other creative ways to get a few more weeks (even months) for the tree: Place it outside and decorate with popcorn string and bird seed ornamentals – allowing your feathered friends to have a snack and have a place to roost during the cold winter nights or rainy (even snowy) days.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Bark, or chirp, before entering
Bark, or chirp, before entering

The moment I laid eyes on Daffodil, I vowed I would give her a good home. I found her at an adoption event for more than 50 rescued rabbits, sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals two winters ago. A silver rabbit, Daffodil looked more like a wild hare than any domestic bunny I’d ever seen, and I was instantly...
AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young mourned by Eddie Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, David Coverdale
AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young mourned by Eddie Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, David Coverdale

Malcolm Young – in the background, as usual, on the video screen – performing at Philips Arena in 2008. Photo: MIKKI K. HARRIS / mkharris@ajc.com BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene Malcolm Young was considered one of the most potent rhythm guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll. Though he was the co-founder of AC/DC whose...
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, the co-founder of the rock ’n’ roll group AC/DC, died Saturday, Rolling Stone reported and the band announced on its website. He was 64. Young had been suffering from dementia for the past three years, which forced his retirement from the band that he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973...
Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone
Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone

A Vietnam War veteran has become a fixture for music lovers in his Louisiana town. Donald Givens plays saxophone for several hours daily in his gazebo at his Monroe residence. His yard is located near the corner of two overpasses and commuters can listen to his daily jam sessions, the News-Star reported. Strangers pull up to his home and ask Givens...
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas

A guitar owned by rock ’n’ roll legend Eddie Van Halen worth more than $100,000 was recovered Friday, hours after it was stolen from a Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, KSAT reported. The guitar, nicknamed “Frankenstrat,” had been reported stolen around 1 a.m. Friday. It was returned later in the day, but it is unclear how...
More Stories