Many of us still like to go to the farm and cut down our own Christmas Tree. More often though you may be purchasing your tree from a local stand set up in a business parking lot. Either way, if you have a live tree you know how important it is to keep it watered, which can be a nuisance to do for an entire month. But if you don’t keep your try moist, you risk fire from the lights on the tree and needles falling off in large quantities (which is why using a tree skirt is a great idea for clean-up).
When you return from buying your Christmas tree, immediately store the trunk in a bucket of water. This will prevent the sap from coagulating at the base of the trunk, which prevents water from entering the trunk to keep it moistened. Don’t forget to prop up your tree so it doesn’t fall over. However, it is recommended to cut off at least ½ inch of the trunk before placing the tree in water to help the tree absorb enough water.
You can use the standard, less expensive tree holders which allow for water to be added, but is inconvenient if you don’t use some type of monitoring device (see below). The stand should provide one quart of water for each inch of trunk diameter. Try to position your tree away from heat sources, which tend to increase the rate of drying.
Once in the stand, be careful to keep the tree trunk under water. Sometimes there may be water in the pan, but it is not providing water to the trunk since it is not submerged. In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day!
There are many water monitoring devices available on the market. You can buy a simple sensor that beeps when the water level is to low to a variety of reservoirs. One that we liked only costs $9.99 and uses your own 2 liter pop bottle to fill with water. You tip the filled bottle over and place in the base which has a hose that runs to the tree base. It will keep 2” of water in the tree stand as long as you can see water in the soda bottle.
For more detailed instructions from the National Christmas Tree Association and information on several more reservoirs, read the article titled “Christmas Tree Watering Tips”.