How To Care for Your Farm-Grown Fresh Christmas Tree
When a Christmas tree is cut, typically over half of its weight is water. With proper care, you
can maintain the quality of your displayed trees. Below are a number of tips relating to the care
of displayed trees:
1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of
maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.
2. Make a fresh cut to remove a ¼” to 1” thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before
putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis.
3. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold
the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
4. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6-8 hours after
cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.
5. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the
freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
6. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the
tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
7. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand.
The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
8. Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct
sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water
consumption each day.
9. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water
10. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the
tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of
the tree is no longer submerged in water.
11. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.
12. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
13. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
14. Do not overload electrical circuits.
15. Always turn off the lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
16. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the
17. Go to www.realchristmastrees.org and type in your zip code to find a recycling program
18. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley
Edited by the Scientific Research Committee of the National Christmas Tree Association