“How do I keep my Christmas tree alive?” is a question we get asked every year on our Christmas tree lot at City Floral Garden Center, here in Denver.
Real Christmas trees are a beautiful and traditional holiday decoration, often at the center of a Christmas celebration. Unfortunately, once the trees are cut down, their time is limited, and keeping them fresh can be a challenge.
We put together some tips and resources to help you have the most success with your live Christmas tree.
1. Pre-Tree-Shopping Must-Dos
Before you head out to the tree lot, there are a few things that should be done to prepare:
- Decide on placement. Choose a space that is away from sources of heat, such as a fireplace, radiator, sunny window, or stove.
- Measure the space, width and height, to be sure your chosen tree will fit. Bring the measurements with you to the lot.
- Have a pre-filled watering can or bucket nearby (or sitting near your sink for quick filling), so you can water the tree as soon as you get it home.
- Gather supplies you may need for getting your tree safely home. Some examples include an old blanket to lay down to protect your vehicle, gloves for loading and unloading the tree, and twine or rope to secure it to the car. At City Floral, we provide the twine, as well as load and secure your tree for you, but you might want gloves for unloading!
2. Choosing the Best Tree
Many people will choose their tree based on aesthetics only. They often go for varieties that are shipped here from other parts of the country that have much different climates. While this is a completely valid choice (warm and humid areas can produce some of the fullest, greenest trees) these trees might require more attention, in regards to watering and needle clean-up, and they will not last quite as long.
If you want a tree that will last well into the new year, consider buying a tree that was grown locally, and is already acclimated to the dry Colorado weather.
Native to the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Concolor, or White Fir, handles cool weather well and can last through Colorado winters. The flat needles have a pleasant citrusy aroma, and because these trees are local, they won’t lose their needles as quickly as other Christmas tree varieties.
The Colorado Concolor is one of City Floral’s most popular and long-lasting trees–it can easily last for 4-6 weeks without any needles dropping. That means you can set it up before Thanksgiving and not have to worry about it until after New Year’s Day. Plus, you support local growers!
3. Make the Cut
Once you find your perfect tree, it needs a fresh cut–at least an inch off the bottom. Just like cutting fresh flowers before you put them in the vase, before you put your tree in water, the base needs to be cut to allow the tree access to that water.
At City Floral, we always give your new tree a fresh cut before loading it onto your vehicle. Be sure to get it home and into water within 20 to 45 minutes after the cut, or else the base will seal itself up, and the tree won’t be able to hydrate effectively. You can re-cut at home if you need to.
Another tip for keeping your tree fresh from the start is to grab a packet of Christmas Tree Preserver! Just add the mix to a gallon of water when you fill your tree stand base. After that, all the tree needs is water.
4. Once You’re Home
So you made it home, set up the tree, filled the stand with water and a packet of tree preserver. Now what? Here are some tips to keep your tree looking its best for as long as possible:
- Keep the tree away from drafts or vents that might dry it out
- Check the water level a couple times a day for the first day or two, and refill as needed
- After the first couple days, check water level daily. You may only need to refill the stand every other day, depending on the amount of water your stand holds
- Consider picking up a tree-watering funnel from City Floral. The Santa’s Little Helper tree funnel makes it easy to keep your tree stand full. No more getting on your knees and digging through pokey branches to water your tree.
- Check out this resource for making your tree fire-resistant, in addition to extra hydrated!
5. When You’re Ready to Take it Down
When the holidays are over, and your beautiful tree has served its life’s purpose, it’s time to take it down. But this doesn’t have to be the end for your tree! Your tree can serve another purpose, and be turned into mulch for your garden in the spring!
Most counties have some sort of Christmas tree recycling program. For some, you drop the tree off at specific locations, and others, the county collects it from your property.
If you happen to reside in Denver County, you can utilize the Treecycle program. It typically runs the first two weeks of January (for 2021 it will be January 4-15).
Just leave your tree out on your regularly scheduled trash pick-up day, and they will collect it. The best part of this program is that you can pick up free mulch made from your tree at the annual Mulch Giveaway and Compost Sale in May! For more information on this Denver program, visit the website here.
Keep in mind that in order for your tree to be recycled, you must remove all decorations, tinsel, or anything that is not part of the natural tree.