Real Christmas trees are a great way to get into the holiday spirit.  Just like caring for live plants, real Christmas trees also require some work so that they look their best.  Starting from the time the tree gets cut, to the time it gets in your house, there are a few steps that should be taken to ensure that the tree is properly taken care of.  If you purchased your real Christmas tree and it was bound in netting, you will need to prepare it before it goes up in your home.  Below are a few pointers on how extend the life of your real Christmas tree.

Real Christmas Tree

How to properly care for your real Christmas tree.

  • Remove all netting and tags on the tree.
  • Stand the tree upright and pick it up and drop it a few times.  This will help remove any dead needles that are still in your tree.
  • Lay the tree on its side and inspect the base of the tree.  You will need to see if the base of the tree will fit in your Christmas tree holder.  It may be necessary to remove some of the lower tree branches so that your tree base fits in the holder properly.
  • After removing any excess branches, you should also remove the last 1″ of the base of the tree.  This will expose a fresh-cut and allow the tree to take up water better.  After removing the last 1″ of your real Christmas tree, make a “X” cut on the base of the tree about 1/2″ deep.  This will also aid in water uptake.
  • Once your base prep work has been done you can now install your base.  Most tree bases use metal anchors to secure the tree in place.  It is important to center the base of the tree between these anchors.  If your tree is not centered between these anchors, it will likely fall over once installed.  Secure the tree using the same method as tightening lug nuts on a tire.  Start at one anchor and tighten it down a few times, next secure the anchor directly across from the last one.  Continue this process until all of the anchors are firm against the base of the tree.  Make sure that the base of the tree is also touching the bottom of the tree holder.  If the tree is suspended in the holder, it will not be as secure.  If you made a straight cut when you removed 1″ from the base of your tree, it should sit straight up.
  • Once you get your tree in your house, you will need to water your tree.  The first few days of watering the tree will take up quite a bit of water.  Watering the tree is important so that your tree stays firm and does not droop.  Watering the tree will also reduce pine needles falling off of the tree.  Keeping a tree moist can also reduce the risk of a fire.
  • You can also add plant food to the water for the tree.  Depending on what you use to feed your real Christmas tree, it can also extend the useful life of the plant all the way through the new year.