How to Care for a Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

You might love your Fraser fir. But do you know all the ins and outs of how to care for a Christmas tree?

It might seem like a no-brainer—until you consider research from the National Fire Protection Association showing that Christmas trees caused 230 home fires that resulted in $17.3 million of damage between 2006 and 2010. That means an average home fire costs more than $75,000—and that’s something that could certainly ruin Christmas.

Fortunately, a few simple precautions will keep your Christmas tree—and your home—merry and safe.

At the lot

  • Freshly cut trees are a lot less like to catch fire, so ask the seller when he or she cut the tree. Also make sure that, for the most part, needles remain on the branches when you give them a shake—a shower of needles signals the tree is dried out.
  • Cut two inches off the base of the tree before strapping it on the car. A fresh cut makes it easier for trees to take in water.

At home

  • Pick a stand that can hold enough water for your tree. The general rule of thumb is to allow one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Water is important because dry trees catch fire much faster than trees that are watered regularly. (See the video below to get an idea of the life-saving difference this can make.)
  • Check the water at least once a day. Trees are often thirstier than you think!
  • Set your tree away from direct sunlight to keep it from drying out.
  • Keep your tree away from fireplaces, heaters, heating vents and radiators to prevent a fire.

When it comes to lights

  • Consider using lights that produce low heat like miniature lights. They won’t dry out your tree as fast.
  • Check light strands for cracks and fraying every year. Toss any lights that are worn.
  • Don’t connect more than three strands of lights to one another.
  • Unplug your Christmas tree lights every night or add a timer that will turn them off at a specified time.
  • Don’t overload electrical circuits.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper lights for indoor and outdoor use. Indoor lights may not get as hot as outdoor lights, making them better for indoor trees.

Finally, remember to recycle your tree at a Christmas tree recycling center at the end of the season. Until then, enjoy the ambiance and beauty your safe, healthy Christmas tree provides!

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