Christmastime is here, and is there anything more festive than the smell of a real tree? But before you head to the tree farm, you might be wondering: How long do live Christmas trees last? Pros say it's best not to buy too early, and to use some trade tricks to keep your Christmas tree green as long as possible.
The tree experts at British Christmas Tree Growers Association recommend buying your Christmas tree on December 1 or later, according to Business Insider. This is because trees tend to stay fresh for about four weeks maximum, and then all those beautiful green needles start going brown. Buying your tree any earlier could mean it doesn't survive until Christmas Day without becoming a major fire hazard. While about four weeks of merriment is the normal lifespan of a Christmas tree, there are some steps you can take to help it last longer.
It starts with choosing your tree wisely. Business Insider suggests that, when trying to decide on the perfect tree, you run your fingers along a few of its branches to see if any needles fall off. Also check for any thinning or bald spots. A tree that's already drying out isn't going to last as long as one that's full and holding on tight to its needles.
While you're at the tree farm, you can even ask which trees were cut down most recently. This will help you find the freshest ones and stick to that section. Also, choose a longer lasting species of Christmas tree. Noble fir, Fraser fir, and Scotch pine are known for hanging on to their needles for longer than other varieties, reported Aol.
Once you've gotten your tree back home, try keeping it away from heat sources that could dry it out. Placing it near space heaters, air vents, fireplaces, and even direct sunlight can lead to an early, not-very-merry end. Next, trim a half of an inch to one inch of trunk off the bottom to ensure the tree is able to absorb water. They tend to create a resin layer at the base a few hours after being cut, so this removes that barrier.
After a light trim, you'll need about one quart of water for every inch of the trunk's diameter, and ideally, you'll have it in its water and happily hydrating within two hours of getting home. Good Housekeeping recommends keeping an eye on the water level throughout the month so your Christmas tree always has enough to work with. And while you may have heard of adding crushed aspirin, bleach, sugar, or other additives to help your tree last longer, tree farmers agree that just plain tap water is as effective as it gets.
When choosing your decorations, keep that heat warning in mind. Big, incandescent bulbs can produce a decent amount of heat. Opting for smaller, LED string lights can keep your tree cool and reduce the risk of drying it out early. Once the lights have been all strung up with care, break out the ornaments, tinsel, and tree topper and make your Christmas tree *really* come to life.