December 9, 2020

Keeping the Holiday Magic Alive: How to Care for Fresh Cut Christmas Trees

By Amanda Rose Newton

Nothing compares to the heavenly scent of a fresh cut Fraser fir during the Holiday season.

For many, this scent is up there with fresh baked cookies and a roaring fire for triggering fond memories of Christmas past. Although Florida might not bring the crunchy snow and the sleigh bells, you can create your own winter wonderland at home with a fresh cut Christmas tree!

Fraser Firs

The beautiful Fraser firs selected for sale at Rockledge Gardens come from a partner farm high in the mountains of North Carolina.

Firs have become the ionic Christmas tree due to their beautiful triangular shape, dense branching, and heavenly fragrance.

Once cut, they retain their needles and scent longer than most coniferous tree species, making them the ideal choice for your home. Once you get your tree home, there are several ways you can ensure you get the most out of your purchase.

The following easy tips will help make sure your tree lasts into the first days of the new year.

Setting Up the Tree

Once you arrive home, clear the space you choose from any items that may hinder set up, and put down a tarp or protective layer. Make sure you have a tree stand handy, as this will make sure your tree remains healthy and upright. Place your Tree into the stand and tighten the bolts to ensure a secure fit. Once, satisfied with the location, remove the tarp or bag and fill the tree stand base with fresh water. Although many Floridians do not use heat in the home, the dryness caused by heaters, electric heat, and even warm Christmas lights can shorten the life of your tree. If you are able to purchase cooler shades of lights, this is an easy way to help protect your tree from early dry out.

Watering Your Tree

Just like potted plants, watering correctly can make or break your success with getting the most enjoyment from your cut tree. To make sure it stays fresh, keep an eye on the water level in the tree stand base. It takes about 6 hours for a fresh cut tree to start the healing process, where it will create a protective seal of dried sap around the cut edge. It is essential to make sure the water NEVER drops below the base of the tree to avoid this process. The tree base needs to be in contact with freshwater to allow for continued uptake and to deter the tree from starting to heal.

What if your tree does form a protective seal?

If your tree has started the healing process, you can always make a fresh cut which will help prevent it from wilting and dropping needles. Make a clean cut at an angle (think florist cut) to allow for optimal water uptake.

How much water is enough?

A cut tree can take in as much as a gallon of water or more within the first 24 hours of hanging out in your living room. Following this initial settling in period, it will take in between 1 or 1.5 quarts of water a day. You can tell when your tree is not getting enough water when the needles appear dry and brittle, and the boughs are drooping.

Water is also the secret ingredient for keeping your tree fragrant! If the odor of the tree seems to have vanished, it might be wise to check the water levels.

This Christmas season is certainly going to be one to remember and taking the time to pause and enjoy the sights, scents, and sounds of the season are therapeutic to all.

By adding some familiar touches and maybe some new traditions, like the classic cut Christmas tree, can make this holiday a magical way to end 2020.