Setting Up Christmas Trees

Keeping your tree beautiful all through the holidays

Many people avoid buying real Christmas trees because they think they're too hard to set up and maintain. However, it's just a matter of learning the basics. Once you learn those, you'll find the enjoyment of a real Christmas tree far outweighs some minor maintenance. Once you get your Christmas tree home, here's how to set it up:

  1. Set up the Christmas tree stand in a location away from direct heat, such as fireplaces, radiators, heating ducts and direct sunlight.

  1. Lightly mist the tree outside. This will remove dust and dirt (which can contribute to drying it out) and hydrate the tree.

  2. Cut off a slice of wood ½ to 1" (1.25 - 2.5 cm) thick from the base of the trunk. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem; don't cut at an angle or in a "V".

  3. Use the proper sized stand: don't use a stand that is too small because the tree won't get enough water. Also if the trunk is too large for the base, don't whittle down the trunk sides because it will reduce the tree's ability to absorb water.

  1. Don't drill a hole in the base of the trunk since it doesn't improve the tree's ability to absorb water.

  2. Fill the stand completely with cold water.

  3. Don't use chemicals or additives in the stand because they may actually reduce the tree's ability to absorb water.

Once you have the Christmas tree firmly in its stand, here are some tips to care for it:

  1. Always keep the stand filled with water.

  2. During the first 24 hours, the Christmas tree will require approximately one gallon of water.

  3. Every day past the first 24 hours, the Christmas tree will require at least one quart of water (more if the tree is larger).

  4. If the water level drops below the end of the trunk, a sap seal will form, preventing the tree from absorbing water (this can occur in 4-6 hours).

  5. If a sap seal forms, you'll need to make a fresh perpendicular cut (see step two of setting up the tree).

Maintaining proper water levels will help prevent the needles from drying out and falling off, and the boughs from drooping and become brittle. It will also maintain the tree's fragrance. If the tree becomes dry and brittle and making a new cut doesn't help, it's time to remove the tree. Otherwise the tree becomes a fire hazard. However, if you follow the proper care tips, your real Christmas tree can last 2-3 weeks.

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