How to Keep a Christmas Tree Alive in Your Rental Home
Choosing a good Christmas tree for your home is a fun tradition that many look forward to each year. If you're one of the people that go after a real tree rather than an artificial one, your Christmas tree will typically last four to five weeks, so timing is important if you want to have a live tree in your rental home during the holidays. If you get a tree during the last week of November, it should last you through at least Christmas — as long as it gets the care it needs to stay alive.
Keeping a tree alive doesn't isn't difficult if you just follow some basic guidelines when selecting a tree and setting it up in your home. Here's how to keep a Christmas tree alive in your rental home.
Pick out a healthy tree
First and foremost, you need to start out with a healthy tree. Some people assume that they can get a semi-healthy tree from a seller and it will get healthier once you get it home and put it in some water. But the truth is, your Christmas tree will not last nearly as long at your house if it isn't healthy the day you buy it.
A few things you should check on before purchasing a tree:
- Look for only green needles with very few (if any) brown needles
- Touch the needles to make sure they don't feel hard or too stiff — they should bend slightly without breaking
- Gently shake the tree to see if any needles fall off. If a lot fall, it's a bad sign and you should move on to the next tree
If any of these signs are visible on a tree, it will not survive until Christmas. Move on to find a greener tree.
Trim the trunk
If you're buying a tree from a seller, check to make sure to trim the trunk so it doesn't have a lot of resin built up around the base. Dried resin affects the water intake and if there's too much covering the bottom of the trunk, the tree can't take in water and stay properly hydrated. Even if there's not a lot of resin on a tree when you buy it, it's a good idea to trim the base again when you buy it so it will absorb the water it needs.
Give it a good base
You'll need to put your Christmas tree in a base or stand and you'll want to make sure you have a proper one. Trees are heavy and you don't want them falling over. You also want to make sure that the stand can hold enough water respective to the size of the tree you get. You'll want a stand that holds a gallon of water at a minimum, if not more.
Keep it hydrated
Just as a bouquet of flowers needs water to keep them alive, a Christmas tree needs water to stay fresh. Except trees are much larger than flowers, so they need a lot more water. Measure the trunk's diameter and plan to give your tree one quart of water for every inch across in diameter (i.e. if it's 8 inches across, you'll want to give it 8 quarts of water or two gallons).
Check water levels daily
You should check the water levels at least once a day and fill it when needed. Never let the water trough dry out completely because that means your tree has taken in all of the water that was there and it probably is still thirsty for more. Even if it only looks like it used an inch of water within a day, refill the base with water so your tree always has the water it needs.
Use a humidifier
Having a humidifier near your Christmas tree can add some extra moisture to the air and help it stay fresh for longer. Especially if you live somewhere with a dry climate, a humidifier can prolong the life of your tree by weeks and will help keep those pesky needles from falling off. You only need to have the humidifier on for part of the day, so you can leave it on for part of the day or throughout the night to keep the air moist.
Avoid heat sources
One thing that can really dry out your tree and remove moisture in the air is any type of heat source. Keep your tree away from fire (like a fireplace or even a candle—which is a safety hazard on top of drying out your tree), close off any heat vents that are nearby and don't place the Christmas tree near a radiator or anything similar. This should help the tree retain moisture and keep it from losing its needles.
Enjoy your Christmas tree
Using the above tips, you can keep your Christmas tree alive at home and make sure it lasts through the holidays before you need to dispose of it (properly, of course). Just keep it hydrated and avoid heat sources and you'll be on your way to the happiest of holidays with lots of Christmas cheer.