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Here's how to make your Christmas tree last longer this holiday season

TODAY 12/14/2022 Shelby Deering

A well-dressed Christmas tree is sure to steal the spotlight (well, that and all the presents stacked underneath it). A dry, needle-less tree, on the other hand, is an eyesore — and not to mention, a fire hazard.

While small and sparse trees á la Charlie Brown have their charm, it's better to go big and bold since Christmas trees set the tone for the fun-filled festivities in your home. In other words: The fuller and fresher the Christmas tree, the better.

Starting from the lot or farm, you can choose a tree that'll have a longer lifespan — given that you take good care of it starting the moment it enters your home.

Below, experts break down how long real Christmas trees actually last and share their top tips to transform your tree into a true Tannenbaum. If done right, your tree will look so fresh and alive, you won't want to take it down once the holiday fun is over. (But if you need help figuring out when it's time, see what other tree experts have to say on the matter.)

How long do Christmas trees last?

While it may seem as if your Christmas tree only lasts about a week, it actually is supposed to have a much longer life expectancy. According to Greg Walsh, owner and founder of Greg’s Trees in New York City, a real Christmas tree should last around six weeks — as long as you give it the right care, that is.

Licensed tree expert Hans Tielmann agrees, adding that Christmas trees can last as long as 45 days depending on the care and species.

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How to make your Christmas tree last longer

Follow these tips and tricks to extend your tree's life. They're pretty tree-mendous, if we do say so.

Don’t choose one with falling needles

Whatever you do, don't be like Charlie Brown and try to give “a little love” to the sad tree with falling needles. Instead, choose the freshest-looking tree possible with no dropped needles in sight.

“If the needles are coming off the tree, you don’t want that tree,” Walsh tells TODAY.com, adding that he has special machines at his Christmas tree lots that shake each tree, which “wakes it up” and stimulates the branches to prevent needle-dropping and ensure it will take in a healthy amount of water.

Give it a fresh cut

“Make sure when you buy a tree, it has a fresh cut on the bottom so it can easily absorb water,” Tielmann tells TODAY.com. “If the tree is already cut, make sure the team selling the tree gives it a fresh cut when it is purchased. This isn’t an extra service they’re providing you, so be sure to request it if they don’t offer it.”

Or simply visit a lot where you know they fresh-cut every tree, something that Walsh does at all of his lots.

Give it TLC as soon as you get home

Christmas tree care starts as soon as you walk in the door. This means getting it into fresh water as soon as possible, but if you’re not able to put the tree up right away, Walsh suggests simply placing it in a bucket of water to give it a drink.

Keep the tree away from heat

When choosing a spot for the tree, don’t place it next to any kind of heat source, such as heating ducts, radiators, fireplace or windows with direct light. “This will make the tree dry up quicker,” Walsh adds.

Not to mention some heat sources can be fire hazards. “Even if you have a fireplace screen up, the chance of sparks landing on a partially dry tree is extremely hazardous," Tielmann tells TODAY.com.

In about 22% of Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source was too close to the tree, according to findings from the National Fire Protection Association. (Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images) © Klaus Vedfelt In about 22% of Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source was too close to the tree, according to findings from the National Fire Protection Association. (Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images)

Water the tree on a regular basis

The name of the game when it comes to giving your Christmas tree a long life? Water, water and more water. This is the most critical part of Christmas tree care, according to Walsh.

“Christmas trees have to have the end cut off in order to properly drink,” he says. “The tree can’t drink if it doesn’t have a fresh cut, just like flowers in a vase.”

Tielmann adds that it’s important to double-check that there’s always water in the tree stand — no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Replenish water often

And it’s not enough to water the tree, you also have to anticipate it needing water long before it becomes dry.  

“People usually only add more water once it has evaporated,” Walsh says. “When you do this, the tree closes up. You need to replenish the water while there is still a couple inches (of water) in the stand.”

Mist the tree as needed

In between waterings, Walsh recommends spritzing your Christmas tree with water for a little H2O boost. Just use a plant mister or standard spray bottle every so often, and your tree will be happier for it.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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