How to Care for Your Christmas Tree

Christmas tree with beautiful decor indoors, closeup.

It’s Christmastime again, and one of the quintessential holiday experiences is having a real Christmas tree in your home for the season. But this festive experience can be daunting for many, especially when you start wondering how to keep your Christmas tree fresh, how to keep it from dropping needles, and even how to safely keep the tree in your home.

If you’ve got questions about how to care for your Christmas tree, we’ve got you covered at Freedom Storage with some helpful tips and tricks.

How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh

Before anything else, it’s important to keep the three F’s of Christmas trees in mind, as shared by Bert Cregg of the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State. Those three F’s are “fresh tree, fresh, fresh cut, fresh water.” So what does that even mean?

A Christmas tree is considered “fresh” if it doesn’t lose several needles when you gently pull on one of the branches. If you pull on the branch and several needles break off, you need to keep searching for the right tree. Some common types of Christmas trees that stay fresh in your home are the Scotch Pine and Blue Spruce.

For the “fresh cut,” that means giving your Christmas tree that best shot at absorbing water from its stands all season long by properly cutting the trunk. Ideally, you should saw off roughly an inch of the bottom of the trunk to allow it to soak up the most water. If you purchased your tree pre-cut, it’s still a good idea to cut off that inch, as you may not know when the initial cut was made, and the fresher the cut, the better the water absorption will be.

And of course, the last “F,” fresh water! When your tree is freshly cut, it can soak up as much as a quart of water daily for every inch of its trunk. So if your Christmas tree trunk is about 2.5 inches thick, it’s absorbing as much as 2.5 quarts of water every day.

You may panic if you see your Christmas tree guzzling the water from its base, but experts say this is a good thing! Healthy trees have healthy water absorption, so the more it drinks, the healthier it is.

Your Christmas tree will typically drink the most water in the first week that it’s up and then slow down, so don’t let that be a cause for concern either. One key thing to keep in mind is to not worry about using extra “boosters” to your tree’s water like sugar, aspirin, or floral preservatives. Your tree didn’t need any of those to survive out in the woods, so you can safely give your tree the plain tap water treatment.

How to Prevent Your Christmas Tree From Dropping Needles

Cleaning the floor from dry fallen Christmas tree needles after the holidays

Keeping your three F’s in mind will be vital in keeping your needles on your tree and off the floor! If you’re wondering how to prevent your Christmas tree from dropping needles, just remember to keep it well-hydrated.

According to Iowa State University’s Horticulture Department, you can tell if your tree is drying out if the needles are brittle and easily break off. Properly watered trees have pliable needles that stay on the branches without snapping off. If you feel like your tree is still struggling with dry air, despite having enough water, you may consider a small humidifier to support healthier needles.

Helpful Tips for Christmas Tree Safety

The holidays are an exciting time, but it’s critical to your health and safety and the health and safety of your loved ones that you keep Christmas tree safety in mind. When averaged, approximately 160 fires at home begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in injuries, home damage, or worse. Electricity also plays a part in these fiery Christmas tree situations, so even if you love your big, vintage Christmas tree lights, it is far safer to go the LED light route for decorating your tree.

You should also set up your tree away from sources of heat such as radiators, fire places, any sort of portable heater, air vents and electrical devices or outlets. Even if that means moving furniture out of the room to make space for your tree, it’s better to temporarily inconvenience yourself than make a decision that leads to a fire.

A Christmas tree close to a fireplace, posing the risk of catching fire

Not sure how to dispose of your Christmas tree at the end of the season? You should always drop off your tree at a tree recycling center, or coordinate with a professional service or community program to take it away for you. Leaving it outside in the trash invites pests and, you guessed it, the risk of fire. You can read more about Christmas tree safety here.

Common Christmas Tree Pests and Diseases

Mites and aphids and spiders, oh my! There are several kinds of Christmas tree pests to keep an eye out for, and being vigilant about these pests starts at the Christmas tree lot or wherever you buy your live Christmas tree. You (or a kind loved one who isn’t scared of bugs) should gently part the branches of your potential Christmas tree to inspect for any creeping, crawling creatures ready to go home with you.

This inspection is also good for looking for potential disease, and Christmas trees, like any other tree, can have fungal diseases and other ailments that hurt their overall health and lifespan. Michigan State University has an excellent “how-to” video for scouting for pests and disease on Christmas trees to help you be fully prepared against any issues with your tree.

Give Your Christmas Tree The Space It Needs With Freedom Storage

As we mentioned earlier, giving your tree the best environment possible, such as providing enough water and humidity or keeping it away from electrical devices and fires, are essential for caring for your Christmas tree.

If you have limited space in your home but don’t want to sacrifice the experience of a live Christmas tree, we have your solution. Give your Christmas tree the space it needs by placing some of your furniture in self storage.

A self storage unit for the holidays can take stress off your mind by freeing up room in your house or apartment. It can also give you an additional space to keep your Christmas ornaments, wreaths, garlands and more when the holiday season is over. If you’re ready to care for your Christmas tree, contact us online or find a Freedom Storage facility near you today!

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