A little angel, garlands, Christmas ornaments, a star at the top and that's it! Your Christmas tree is now beautiful, all brand new and fresh in a corner of your living room. Now, the hard part will be to keep it in the same state at least until Christmas. This will not necessarily be obvious to everyone as the ground will quickly be covered with the needles that have fallen from the tree.
As a first piece of advice : know that your tree is like the plants you keep in your home, so it also needs to be pampered, to be placed in the right area and especially to be ‘fed’.
Placement and day-to-day upkeep
Once you have bought your precious Christmas tree, you should consider where you will be placing it so that it is in a suitable place. It is advisable not to expose it directly to a source of heat that is too strong. Avoid installing it in an overheated room. It is preferable to put it in a cooler room first or even outside. Also, if it is possible, avoid placing it near a radiator or a chimney. Indeed, such exposure to heat dries it out and makes it lose its vigor. In addition, it avoids the risk of setting on fire. Before placing it on its base, it is advisable to saw the base of the fir tree a few centimetres in a bevel-cut to allow it to drink water and ensure that it gets better moisture. Finally, do not place your tree in a corridor, since repeated rubs will only accelerate the fall of its needles.
For decorations, avoid artificial snow. Though it will certainly bring an aesthetic side to your tree, it dries out the branches. As a substitute, we suggest flour to artificial snow for a snowy touch. Also consider small lights for your garlands. Indeed, large bulbs create more heat, therefore accelerating the drying process.
On a daily basis, think of watering your tree lightly and moistening the branches regularly with a mist, if you have not installed electric lights, of course. A Christmas tree can drink up to three litres of water for 24 to 48 hours. It will then be satisfied with 1 to 2 litres of water.
Are Christmas trees addicted to sugar?
Be aware that while water may seem sufficient, many household products can also optimise the conservation of your Christmas tree. Several studies have been done to find out if adding such liquids can help a tree stay fresh longer. According to arborist Tchukki Anderson, there is a good improvement in the condition of the fir trees by mixing, for example, a teaspoon of sugar or corn syrup in the water used to water the tree. Even though, most of the time, only water is enough.
For their part, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have confirmed that keeping freshly cut trees in water reduces needle loss. This therefore refutes studies claiming that watering a dead tree makes no sense. However, tree care specialist Lee Werner believes that adding addictive substances like sugar, aspirin or even vodka does not help. ‘Clear water is still what works best,’ he says.
But the simplest is still to test it out for yourself. Here are some instructions.
How to moisturise your tree?
For this, cut five small branches of a dozen centimetres. Make sure they come from the same branch and are as similar as possible in length and shape. Here is what you need:
- five jars to store your solutions
- five vases for your branches. Try to find rather identical and transparent vases like glasses, in order to easily observe the changes.
- tap water
- white vinegar
- light corn syrup
- domestic bleach
- a permanent marker
- a measuring cup
- a measuring spoon
- bowls for blending
Then all that’s left to do is to prepare the different solutions.
- Pot 1: a litre of tap water
- Pot 2: a litre of fresh water with half a spoon of corn syrup. To facilitate dissolution, warm the water. But make sure it has cooled down before watering your tree.
- Pot 3: a litre of water with a teaspoon of white vinegar.
- Pot 4: a litre of water with a spoon of bleach.
- Pot 5: a litre of water with half a spoon of corn syrup and a teaspoon of white vinegar. Once the mixture is made, add a small spoon of bleach. Be careful, follow this order, for if you do not, you run the risk of getting toxic fumes. If this makes you nervous, remove the vinegar.
Test out your solutions
Once the different mixtures are made, cut the end of each branch in a bevel-cut and place them in a vase. Make sure the needles stay outside and the stem rests on the bottom. Fill the first vase with the mixture of pot 1, just enough so that most of the branch stays above the water.
Repeat the process for each of the five vases and jars. Place them in a room at room temperature. Then you can observe the evolution of the branches every two days, over four weeks, by adding the necessary liquid. Look for changes in the foliage or the appearance of mould.
Obviously, these experiments take a certain time. It is therefore preferable to carry them out before the purchase of your Christmas tree. If you do not have enough time, use fresh water to water your tree and follow the advice on low heat exposure.