How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh

Here are some tips to help you keep your tree fresher for longer.

  • Start with a healthy tree from a local tree farm.
  • Trim 1/2 inch off the base of the trunk before setting it up to help with water absorption.
  • Use a Christmas tree stand that can hold at least 1 gallon of water.
  • Check the water level daily, making sure the bottom 2 inches of the trunk is always immersed in water.
  • Help your tree stay hydrated by adding a cap full of Miracle-Gro® For Christmas Trees for every quart of water.
  • Keep your Christmas tree away from heat sources.

Prolong the Tradition

For those who enjoy them, a real Christmas tree is likely one of the highlights of the holiday season. A fir, pine or spruce tree makes an inviting and fragrant addition to the home that many like to keep into the New Year. Follow these simple tips to help keep your Christmas tree looking fresh for longer.

Choosing a Christmas Tree

In most regions of the country, you should have at least a couple of tree varieties to choose from. Here's what you'll normally find when browsing different Christmas tree options:

Balsam fir trees are known for their strong scent and sturdy branches to hold all of your ornaments.

Scotch pines have a good reputation for holding onto their needles indoors.

Spruces have that desirable conical Christmas tree shape as well as strong branches.

Inspecting Your Christmas Tree

While browsing your options, use these tips for picking the freshest tree.

  • If you can, shop at a local Christmas tree farm to get the freshest tree possible. Many trees in garden centers and on lots have to be transported (even imported from out of state) to the destination and may have suffered wind damage in the process.
  • Thoroughly inspect the tree for brown needles.
  • Needles and branches should feel flexible and have some bounce to them. A brittle, stiff tree is not a good sign.
  • Gently shake the tree or tamp it on the ground to check for needle drop. If very few green needles fall off, then your tree's in good shape.

Once you've found your ideal tree, ask the seller if they can give the base of the trunk a fresh cut before you take it home. This removes any dried sap that could prevent your tree from absorbing water. If they're not able to trim the base, then be sure to do it at home and put your tree in water as soon as possible.

If you're not able to set up your tree in the house right away, place it in a bucket of water and store it in a cool (but not freezing) place out of the wind.

Keeping Your Christmas Tree Fresh

When you're ready to set up your Christmas tree, follow these setup tips to keep it fresh for as long as possible:

Christmas trees need a lot of water so be sure to get a tree stand that can hold at least a gallon of water.

  • Cut off the bottom 1/2 inch of the trunk if you haven't done so already. This removes any hardened sap to allow for better water uptake. This is a good time to measure the diameter of the trunk (see next step for why that's important.
  • Add a quart of water to your tree stand for every inch of the trunk's diameter.
  • The key to maintaining a fresh Christmas tree is to keep the bottom 2 inches of the trunk immersed in water, even if that means refilling the stand every day. 
  • Keep your tree hydrated and reduce needle drop by adding 1 capful of Miracle-Gro® for Christmas Trees for every quart of water added to your tree stand.
  • Christmas trees prefer cooler temperatures, so turn down heat whenever possible and place your tree closer to a window, away from radiators and fireplaces.

Decorating for Christmas is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season. While your Christmas tree may be the centerpiece, there are many other wonderful plants that will complement your holiday decor. For more holiday plant inspiration and tips, check out our articles on Christmas cactusesamaryllises, and poinsettias.

*Reduces needle drop vs. water only, when used as directed.

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