How to extend your Christmas tree’s life

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With their unique scent, natural Christmas trees immediately bring the magic of Christmas into your home. Festive and magnificent, they herald the true arrival of the holidays. To make sure your tree will live happily in your home, it is very important to carefully choose and prepare it, and then to give it a proper goodbye once festivities are over.

Whether you opt for a spruce tree, a Fraser fir, a Nordmann fir or a noble fir, your tree will still look good come New Year’s Eve if you follow our instructions.

Choose your tree carefully

Whether they were raised locally or elsewhere, trees are often carried long distances in the cold. Sometimes stacked on each other in trucks without much protection, they face frost and strong winds. A good merchant will have taken care to cover them with a tarp, but nevertheless, make sure the tree you are planning to buy is healthy.

Your tree should have a lustrous appearance. Its branches should be full and flexible. Take a little whiff by carefully placing your face close to its branches and trunk. A fresh tree will give off a lovely fragrance of sap. Run your fingers along the needles to make sure they remain firmly attached to the branches. Lastly, inspect the tree to check that dead or dry branches are not hidden inside, near the trunk.

If you cut down your own tree in the forest, check for any animals that might be living in it. Nobody wants to reproduce a scene from the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!

Get your tree ready for the holidays

A well-hydrated tree will last a long time, which is why it must drink a lot. When you get home, cut three centimetres off the bottom of the trunk and place it in a bucket of fresh water. You can also ask your merchant to do this if you are able to quickly put it in water. The purpose is to eliminate the dried sap that obstructs the base of the tree and ensures your tree will be able to properly absorb the water you give it. When you are ready to put it in its stand, make sure it is always standing in a good quantity of water. The first three or four centimetres must be immersed in water so the sap cannot dry again and block the base of the tree.

Also plan on pruning the branches a little, as needed, to give it that Christmas tree shape. Don’t waste time giving it sugar water or drilling holes in the trunk. All it really needs is the initial trim and tap water.

Extend your tree’s life

To help your tree maintain all its glory, do not expose it to sunlight and sources of heat such as a fireplace or radiator. This will prevent it from drying out and is also safer.

Get into the habit of refilling your tree’s water morning and evening, as you would do with a new pet. If your decorations are not made out of paper, you can also spray a bit of water on the needles, as you would for a tropical plant. This will help them stay green.

Part ways on good terms

It is sometimes difficult to say goodbye to a tree that brought so much cheer to your home over the holidays. However, it’s a good idea not to take too long before you show it to the door. Even if you gave it all the love you have, it has a limited lifespan. The longer you wait before taking it down, the more it will shed its needles on its way out. However, the rain of needles is nevertheless inevitable. We suggest cleaning up with a vacuum, after having removed the brush or the end piece.

Check whether your municipality has a collection and transformation program. For example, the City of Montréal collects trees to turn them into wood chips. Lastly, take a few minutes to clean your stand, removing the needles and any sap that may have accumulated there.

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