Curious how to take care of a live Christmas tree and if it’s worth the hassle? As someone who grew up with fake Christmas trees and has been converted to having real ones, I say yes, it’s definitely worth getting a real tree and is much easier than you may expect!
Going to a local Christmas tree farm to cut your own tree can also be a fun, low-stress tradition you can add as an annual outing for your family, and supports a local farmer. Especially in the year 2020, it can be tough to find socially distant activities to celebrate the holidays with your family. (You may also like: Low Risk Iowa Activities to Enjoy the Holidays 2020).
For my husband and I, it’s usually an all weekend event of selecting and cutting our tree of choice at Strautman Tree Farm, prepping to get it set up and then decorating with Harry Potter movies playing or another festive movie over the weekend, and ending the evening with hot chocolate or tea. I can’t wait!
Now don’t be surprised that the following care tips are pretty easy, because they are! But these couple of tips will really help you have a stress-free time, and gorgeous looking (and smelling) Christmas tree!
Get a Proper Christmas Tree Stand
If you have a real tree, you’ll need to have a proper Christmas tree stand in order to keep it balanced and be able to water it consistently. Also make sure the base of your Christmas tree is relatively flat and clean.
Sometimes when you’re cutting your own tree at a farm it might not be perfect, so it might be worth taking the time at home to do another clean cut, but we don’t usually worry about it being perfect and it’s been fine.
Currently we use a screw-in tree stand like this one, which is ultimately probably the worst part of the process. Even with two people, you need one to hold it straight, while barely being able to see it and the other person crawled underneath trying to screw it in tight and hope it stays straight. This leads to some trial and error of getting it exactly how you want it to look.
After searching around for easier alternatives, I found this Tree Genie Deluxe that I think will solve our problems and has amazing reviews. It has a foot pedal that tightens up the stand prongs in the middle for you, so no crawling and crying when your tree isn’t straight for the tenth time. If I end up getting this, I’ll update this post on my review!
Safe Christmas Tree Placement
With a live tree, remember to keep it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters and heating vents. This will cause your tree to dry out and could be a fire hazard as well.
Once these type of trees dry out, they become increasingly more flammable, so definitely consider this if you have hopes of putting a live tree next to a fireplace.
Water Your Christmas Tree Consistently
If you’re new to real Christmas trees, you might be shocked at how much water they need! But since it’s a live tree, watering is essential for your tree to not dry out, lose its needles and eventually die off. It’s also essential for maintaining that amazing pine smell!
You always want to make sure there is water in your tree stand or else the sap may seal off the end and make it more difficult for the tree to absorb water.
Generally you may need to water at least a quart of water or more a day. Use room temperature or cold water, do not use hot water. There’s no need to add plant food, as long as you are watering it consistently.
If you are buying a pre-cut tree, you may need to water it extra the first day or two since you don’t know how long it’s been sitting out and will absorb a lot of water.
Another recommendation for watering your Christmas tree easily is getting a watering spout that you can tuck into your tree and have it lead directly into the tree stand, so you aren’t crawling underneath to water and hope you’re not spilling.
We have real hardwood floors, so I don’t play around with spilling water. I also get usually put a towel around the base under a tree skirt to make sure nothing spills or splashes, but that might just be me being extra paranoid.
Disposing of Your Christmas Tree Responsibly
Many cities have tree recycling programs in the new year where you can dispose of your Christmas tree, and then they can use them to be made into mulch or compost. Some even will pick up your tree from your curb! Check out your local city or county website for more information.
Our city allows burning within city limits, so sometimes we just throw our tree into the middle of our empty vegetable garden and burn it since we have the room. My big warning is that a dried out Christmas tree will burn fast and furious, so I truly don’t recommend this unless you’re interested in potentially starting your roof on fire. Yes, the flames can get that high!
I told you it was easy enough to take care of a live Christmas tree! There’s nothing quite like the fresh pine smell, the perfectly fluffed and filled branches, and the happy traditions that come along with it.