When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree through the New Year.  Reducing water loss is the #1 item to consider.  Once a tree stand has 'dried out', no more water will be pulled up into the tree, and the tree will dry out more quickly.

We at Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm will prepare your tree for your home by cutting a straight 'fresh cut' at the base of the tree...

Immediately upon getting home, put the tree in a bucket of hot water.  This will keep air from entering the base of your tree (this is actually what causes a tree to be unable to drink water.. air entering the 'flesh' of the outer layer of the tree... ).  A fresh cut and getting your tree into water right way will be able to drink more water over the next few weeks. If the tree is not going into the stand right away, you can make a fresh cut right before putting the tree up, just cut about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.  Either way, once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.  If you think you need to make another cut, do it!

Our trees are generally cut the WEEK you bring them home... this is in contrast to most 'tree sellers' who buy their trees and have them delivered all at once.  Those trees are most often cut in early November and have been drying out for a month before you even bring it home. THOSE trees are thirsty and will drink a lot of water.  OUR trees, because they were in the ground just a few days before you bring it home, are full of water and therefore may not drink much water the first week or so.  This is NORMAL. 

If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location (garages are perfect). Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.  The tree will be very happy in there.

To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.  A fresh tree is HEAVY, and that's good as it means the tree has lots of water in it.  If your tree is FRESH, it will not drink as much water as a tree that is already dry.  And there is a point at which a dry tree will not drink anymore, no matter what is done.

Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand, the outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed!  If you trim the trunk to fit the stand, the tree will take in very little water.

The MOST IMPORTANT ITEM for keeping your tree fresh longest:  Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). HEAT VENTS will dry a tree out (think 'hairdryer').  Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.  Moving AIR can dry a tree out VERY QUICKLY!  Heating vents are, in our experience, the primary reason why some folks find their tree loses needles too fast.  Even fresh-cut trees will dry out quickly if they have constant warm air blowing on them.

Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.

Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.

Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.

Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.  Do not overload electrical circuits.  And always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace, they have too much sap and will cause a huge flare-up.