Keeping the Cut Christmas Tree Fresh

Follow these tips to get the most out of your tree this holiday.

Q. It is very warm this year for December and all the Christmas trees are already cut. Is it best to pick up the tree now early in the month, cut the bottom and place in water, or is it better to leave it with a callus on the bottom. Which way would keep the tree the freshest?

A. The best way to have a fresh tree is to cut one at the last minute, but when that isn't an option, we do the best we can. The main thing is to keep it as cool as possible for as long as possible and keep it in water. The usual suggestion of keeping it outside is intended to help keep it cool—and the usual suggestion of keeping it in the garage is intended to help keep it out of drying winds and direct sunlight. Once you bring it indoors, keep it away from heat sources such as radiators and heat vents. The callus will prevent the tree from absorbing water, so a fresh cut is needed.

The tree may soak up anywhere from two pints to a half a gallon a day, so be sure to keep the stump cut in water. If the water level is allowed to drop below it, you will need to recut it. Finally, some folks swear by the various commercial products or homemade recipes for keeping trees fresh, but we've had mixed results. Good luck with your tree!

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