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a living room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a table

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh tree in your home. When you’re buying a precut tree, check the needles to make sure they’re flexible not dry and brittle. Trees with flexible needles are fresher and will last longer inside your home. Not only that – dry, brittle trees with lights left on can become a fire hazard.

Once you’ve selected the perfect tree, cut an inch off of the bottom of the tree trunk. You can usually have this done at the tree farm or tree lot where you buy your precut tree. When trees are cut initially, the sap starts sealing over the base – like the tree is trying to heal a wound. But that stops the tree from absorbing water later on. As long as your journey is within 2 hours from the time you make the extra cut, you’ll be OK. If it’s going to be longer than that, make the cut at home.

As soon as you can, get the tree in water. If you’re not ready to put up the tree, or if it’s full of snow, then put the tree in a bucket of water. But if you’ve got the tree stand ready…and it’s important to have a sturdy tree stand, then put the tree in the stand and water it right away.

To keep the needles fresh, you need to make sure that the base of the tree doesn’t dry out. A rule of thumb to guide you is that a typical tree can absorb about a quart of water for each inch of its diameter. So a typical 3 to 4 inch base would need 3 to 4 quarts of water a day. Check throughout the day to make sure the trunk doesn’t dry out.

Adding two teaspoons of sugar also helps the tree to stay lush during the Christmas season. Many people will even add corn syrup. Not all experts agree with that. Niemi Family Farm owner Marjo Niemi says, “We’ve found the sugar works the best to keep the trees fresh. We recommend it to all of our customers.”

Think about heaters, fans, vents, and direct sunlight when you are placing your tree in your room. Each one of these things can dry out the needles…and even worst case, lead to a fire. The risk of a fire can also be reduced by using LED tree lights. They are inexpensive and stay cooler. It’s worthwhile replacing old lights with the new LED lights.

So…check for flexible needles.
Make a clean cut on the base/trunk of the tree.
Put the tree in water as soon as possible.
Add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the water.
Keep the base of the tree wet – that can mean watering the tree several times during the day.
Consider the location of heaters, fans, vents, and direct sunlight that can dry out the needles.
Use LED lights to decorate the tree.

Enjoy your tree!

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