Tricks and Tips: Watering Your Christmas Tree

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Caring for your Christmas tree is an important part of the holiday season. Just as we make sure we're drinking enough water, our fresh-cut or live Christmas tree also needs consistent hydration. Once your tree takes its proud place in your living room, the key is to maintain the water level in the tree stand. Did you know that a real Christmas tree can consume a gallon of water or more a day during the first week?

It doesn’t matter if you pick your tree from a tree lot or make a new cut from a tree farm; it doesn’t matter if you go with an evergreen Fraser fir or Scotch pine. One thing remains consistent: the base of the tree needs to soak up plenty of water. The purer the water, the better the water uptake. That's why we recommend giving your Christmas tree water from Clearly Filtered water filters.

If you are looking for tips on tree care, keep reading. In this article, we will explore everything from finding the right tree to ways to check for moisture loss. The last thing you want is for those needles to dry out due to warm Christmas lights or nearby fireplaces and stoves.

Freshness is Key When Selecting Your Tree

When you choose your Christmas tree from the tree lot, opt for a new cut from a reputable tree farm and remember: the base of the tree is the most important factor for whether or not your tree will be easy to care for when you bring it home. It's designed to soak up plenty of water. If you spot fallen needles around the tree, it might be a sign the tree hasn't been given enough water or has been cut and left for too long.

A quick tip to determine tree freshness: gently pull your hand along a branch. If needles remain intact, you're good to go.

Did you know? The top-selling Christmas trees in the U.S. include Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white pine, and balsam fir.

Post-Purchase Christmas Tree Care

Once you bring your tree home and set it up in your living room, it’s time to start your tree care. You don’t want to end up with a withering tree before you make it to Christmas, especially given the fire hazard it can present. Here's what you should do:

  • Saw half an inch off the bottom of the trunk. This ensures any dried resin that might block water uptake is removed.

  • Water is your tree's best friend. In the initial 24 hours, a fresh-cut Christmas tree can drink a gallon of water.

Maintain a consistent water level in your Christmas tree stand. Never let it drop below the base of the tree, and check the water level consistently. Letting the base dry out on the first night might spell the beginning of the end. Some people even keep an extra bucket of water near the tree on that first night to make refilling easier.

Why Your Christmas Tree Might Not Be Absorbing Water

Water absorption is key to keeping your Christmas tree looking fresh throughout the holiday season. If you notice your tree isn't absorbing the water you're providing it, there might be a few reasons:

  • Air Bubbles in the Trunk: When a tree is first cut and then exposed to air, it can form an air bubble in its vascular system. This bubble can block the tree from absorbing water, even if its base is submerged in it.

  • Resin Seal: Over time, especially if left for a few hours without water after being cut, the base of the tree can form a resin seal, which prevents the tree from taking up water.

  • Incorrect Cut: If the cut at the base of your tree isn't straight or if it's too jagged, the tree might have difficulty absorbing water. It's important to make a straight cut, preferably while the tree is submerged in water, to prevent air from entering the vascular system.

Old Tree: Trees that have been cut for a long time or that were not stored properly might have difficulty taking up water simply due to age or the conditions they were kept in.

The Fire Hazard of a Dried-Out Christmas Tree

Ensuring your Christmas tree remains hydrated is also an important safety measure. When a tree doesn't receive enough water, its branches and needles become brittle and are more susceptible to igniting when they’re exposed to heat sources.

During this festive time, our homes are filled with potential heat sources, from Christmas lights to fireplaces. Even a small spark can quickly turn a dry tree into a house fire. The National Christmas Tree Association emphasizes the importance of regular watering to prevent these incidents.

If you can, try to place your tree away from heat sources, monitor the water level in the tree stand, and submerge the bottom of the trunk in fresh water to significantly reduce the risk of fires.

What to Do When Your Tree Isn’t Drinking Water

If your tree starts to dry out, don't worry:

Use warm water to loosen the dried sap at the tree’s base, helping it drink again. Then, drill six to ten small holes about a half inch up from the bottom of the tree’s trunk. Make sure the holes are below the water line in your stand. This will increase the surface area of the trunk that is exposed to water and may help the water bypass air bubbles and dried resin.

The Best Type of Water for Your Christmas Tree

You want to give your tree the best care, and that includes using the right water. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Tap Water: Regular tap water is generally fine for most Christmas trees, but it’s not always the ideal choice for your indoor plants. If your tap water is heavily treated with chemicals or has a high mineral content, you might consider using filtered water.

  2. Filtered Water: Clearly Filtered water filters can provide pure water, which might be better for the tree's water uptake. Using filtered water helps reduce any contaminants or harmful chemicals present in regular tap water, which may allow the tree to absorb the water more effectively.

  3. Bottled Water: At first glance, bottled water might seem like a convenient and pure alternative for watering your Christmas tree. But bottled water may not always be the best choice. Bottled water can contain microplastics and other contaminants, and the cost of consistently using bottled water for a tree that consumes a significant amount daily can add up.

  4. Avoid Additives: Some suggest adding substances like sugar, aspirin, corn syrup, bleach, or commercial tree preservatives to the water. While there are varying opinions on this, the majority believe that plain water is best. If you decide to use an additive, ensure it's safe for pets who might be tempted to drink from the tree stand.

As you care for your Christmas tree this holiday season, don't forget to extend the same attention to the water you and your loved ones drink. Your tree thrives on pure, fresh water — and so do you. Give your family the gift of clean, refreshing water with our range of advanced water filters, and keep your tree shining bright throughout the festive season.

Happy Holidays from the Clearly Filtered Team

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