Keep your tree looking lush until the last ornament is packed away with these tips for watering, using stands and siting
And no matter which kind of tree it is — spruce, fir, pine or cypress — once it’s indoors, the goal is to keep the tree fresh and green. This means keeping the needles pliable and on the tree until the holidays are over. And the only thing that does that is water, lots of it, every day.
Once you get your tree home, put it into water as soon as possible, within eight hours. If the trunk wasn’t freshly cut at the place where you bought the tree, then saw an inch or two off the bottom of the trunk and put it in a tree stand filled with fresh water. If you’re not ready to set it up, put it in a bucket of water in a cool place. The water temperature doesn’t matter.
It should comfortably fit the diameter of the trunk. Whittling the trunk down will only dry the tree out faster. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends that a tree stand should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Be sure the tree stand you choose has a large water reservoir. A tree can take up a gallon of water in its first few hours in the stand.
To an evergreen that spent years growing in a field, your house is as dry as the Sahara Desert. Position the tree out of the sun and away from heat sources. Keep the temperature in the room as low as is practical.
You can saw off some of the tree’s branches and cover garden beds with them to protect plants, or turn them into mulch with a chipper or shredder. If you have the acreage, drag the tree to an out-of-the-way spot for birds and animals to use as cover. Most communities now collect spent Christmas trees and make mulch or compost from them, which they offer back to residents. The saddest end for a tree is for it to be hauled off to a landfill, instead of being turned back into soil — allowed to decompose and feed living creatures, the way nature intended.