How to Keep Your Live Christmas Trees Green

Until the last century, families throughout Europe and North America would head to the forest and cut down live Christmas trees a few days before the holiday. They never worried about the tree's freshness or how to keep it green for long. As the Christmas season has grown longer in recent times, keeping a live Christmas tree green for a month is quite a challenge. Here's how you can do it:

Select the Right Tree: Whether you choose a live tree from the corner lot or freshly cut from the Christmas tree farm, make sure you pick the freshest tree you can. Test the needles for flexibility and color: They should not come off when you stroke a branch. Lift the tree and drop it on the stump to ensure that no outer green needles come off.

Store the Tree Properly: When you get your tree home, it's important to condition the tree from the cold outside to the warm inside. Leave the tree in the garage or a shed for a day or two. If the temperatures outside are above freezing, you can store the tree in a bucket of water. Below freezing temperatures mean you can just leave the tree leaning upright on the stump. Just before you carry it inside, cut off the bottom inch or two of the stump at an angle to open up fresh tree cells to absorb water.

Keep the Tree Cool: Choose a location that is clear of any direct heat sources, such as a fireplace, heat vent or radiator. Keep the room where the live tree will reside as cool as possible. Consider blocking up heating vents to the room, and keep the radiator off if you can. As soon as it is set up in the Christmas tree stand, give the live tree plenty of water. A live Christmas tree can absorb 1 to 2 gallons of water within the first 24 hours of coming indoors. If a tree stump is not sitting in water, it will begin to seal up and won't absorb water any more, so keep the Christmas tree stand water reservoir always full.

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