How to Care for a Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree

How to Care for a Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree

Nothing kicks off the holidays like the cool, woods-y fragrance of a freshly cut, Christmas tree! After picking out that perfect tree, follow the simple instructions below to keep your live evergreen looking its best and safe throughout the holiday season.

Before you bring your tree indoors:

Cut off about one-inch of the bottom of the trunk (if you have waited more than an hour from the last, fresh cut.) Make a straight cut as this allows the tree to take in more water than an angled one. Remove more of the trunk if your tree is too tall for the room.

Place the tree in a stable, waterproof tree stand and fill the container with fresh water. Check the water level several times during the first 24 hours. Always keep water available in the tree stand to keep the needles soft and supple. It is amazing to see how much water a freshly cut tree will absorb.

Best locations for your holiday tree are away from sources of heat such as fireplaces, heaters, heat vents or even direct sunlight.


1. Can’t put the tree up right away? Don’t worry, it can be temporarily stored for a few days in a cool location. Give the trunk a fresh cut and place it in a large  bucket of water. Give it a fresh cut before you bring it indoors.

2. Choose a tree stand that fits your tree. (Usually, tree stands should provide roughly one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter.) Avoid shaving the outside trunk to make it fit in the stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient at taking in water.

3. Use Christmas lights that produce small amounts of heat such as LED and miniature lights because they will reduce the drying of your tree.

4. Turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or going to bed. Be safe.

5. Recycle the tree after the holidays. Evergreen trees make great mulch and are a natural shelter for wintering birds. Remove the branches and spread them over the garden beds to insulate spring bulbs and perennials.