Keeping your holiday tree at its best during the holiday season with these 10 tips from the National Christmas Tree Association:
1. When selecting a tree, make sure the “handle” at the bottom is long enough to allow the trunk to fit into your tree stand.
2. Before you bring your tree indoors, make a fresh cut to remove ¼ inch to 1 inch of the stem before placing the tree in water.
3. Make a straight cut. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, because that will make it difficult to stand the tree straight in the stand. It also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
4. Use a tree stand that holds enough water for the tree. Stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
5. Keep the tree stand full of water; check the water level a couple of times the first day your tree is inside and daily after that. Don’t worry about the water’s temperature – it doesn’t affect water uptake.
6. Do not use additives in the water, such as floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, sugar, or aspirin. The tree needs only clean water to stay fresh.
7. Place your tree away from heat sources, as heat dries out a tree.
8. Use miniature lights rather than large ones to produce less heat and drying of the tree.
9. After the holiday, or when the tree is dry, remove it from your house.
10. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace. A burning Christmas tree is hard to control and may burn much faster than you are expecting.
For more Christmas tree care tips, and to find a local tree recycling program after the holidays, go to www.realchristmastrees.org.