To make your tradition a more memorable and pleasant one, we’d like to offer a few helpful hints when caring for your tree:
- Once you’ve chosen your tree, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area such as a porch or garage to protect it from the wind and sun until you are ready to decorate it.
- Before you set up your tree, make a fresh, straight cut across the base of the trunk (about an inch up from the original cut) and place the tree in a tree stand which incorporates a built-in water bowl.
- Warning: Keep the tree stand filled with water. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if the water drops below the base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled. If a seal does form, another fresh cut will need to be made.
- Often a tree will absorb well over a litre in the first 24 hours and up to that amount a day thereafter. Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and the boughs from drooping. Water also keeps the tree fragrant.
- In addition, keep your tree away from heat and draft sources like fireplaces, radiators and television sets. Test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they’re in good working order. You don’t want to use cords with cracked insulation or broken or empty sockets. Also be sure to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Never overload electrical circuits.
- Sensible precautions such as these will help preserve the unique beauty and tradition that only a real Christmas tree can provide.
What to Add to the Water?
We’ve heard some interesting stories on this topic. Some people talk of products you add to the water in your tree stand. Others have concocted their own mixtures, with ingredients such as sugar, bleach, disprin, or the ever-popular vodka. Dr. Gary Chastagner, a researcher at Washington State University, USA, has been working with Christmas trees, and his findings suggest that your best bet is plain old tap water. It doesn’t have to be distilled water or mineral water or anything like that. So, I guess it is personal choice, but what ever you do have a very Merry Christmas and please keep that water in your tree stand topped up!