Ho-ho-how can you keep a live Christmas tree looking fresh for as long as possible this holiday season? Popular Science has some advice:
- Turn down the thermostat. Keeping the tree in a cool room will extend its life by reducing how much water it loses.
- Test-drive trees before you buy. Run a branch through your closed hand to ensure the needles stay on and flex the branches to ensure they’re pliable.
- Keep an eye out for red flags. If you detect discolored or overly brittle foliage, wrinkled bark or a musty odor, keep walking.
- Measure the width of the tree's base. Live trees need a stand that can hold one quart of water for each inch of the trunk’s diameter. So a tree with a two-inch trunk diameter needs a stand that can hold at least two quarts of water.
- Wrap trees before driving them home on top of your car. Winter winds can quickly dry trees out.
- Saw off the trunk’s bottom inch before you put it in your stand. Just like trimming a blossom’s stem before you stick it in a vase, removing the bottom inch of a Christmas tree's trunk gets rid of stopped-up vessels and will allow the tree to drink water freely.