Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees.
• Before buying a tree, hold it upright and drop it from a few inches. Excessive needle drop is a sign of dryness.
• Before installing, you will need to trim an inch off the bottom of the trunk. Make a square cut, not an angled one. Tree lot merchants may do this for you.
• It’s OK to leave the tree in a bucket of water for several days until you have time to install and decorate it – but monitor the water level. If you are storing in, say, an unheated porch or garage, make sure it won’t tip or blow over.
• The tree is thirstiest when first cut and will absorb several quarts of water in its first day or two. Keep a close eye on the water level and don’t let it drop below the cut, which will gum up if it dries.
• Place the tree away from fireplaces and heat registers and away from doors.
• Make sure that your tree stand is big enough for the tree, both for stability and amount of water storage.
• Additives to the water are not necessary, but the level should be checked daily and topped off as needed – use your finger to check the water level.
• Additional tips can be found at the website of the National Christmas Tree Association (www.realchristmastrees.org).