Tips For Keeping Your Christmas Tree Fresh

by / 8 Comments / 2625 View / December 9, 2013

Each year more than 24 million Christmas trees are sold during the holiday season in the United States.

Too bad most of these trees look dry and yucky by Christmastime!


 Tips and Tricks for Extending Freshness Period of Christmas Trees


I'm going to start with one of the best kept secrets.


Shirley-Bovshow Applies Wilt-Pruf-anti-transpirant compound to a Christmas-Tree -on Home and Family Show to keep it Fresh

1. Use an anti transpirant compound such as "Wilt-Pruf" on your Christmas tree to seal moisture in the tree.

I'm not sure why anti-transpirant sprays are not more commonly used in households to preserve Christmas tree freshness!

Wilt-Pruf has been around for over sixty years and is available at garden centers and home improvement stores throughout the United States.

Landscape professionals have been using anti-transpirant solutions for years to preserve seasonal decor and landscape plants!


Anti-transpirants are chemical compounds that are applied to leaves to reduce transpiration of moisture.

Think of a tree leaf or needle as its skin.

The compound "closes the pores" of the leaf surface so that moisture can't evaporate through it!


Wilt-Pruf is commonly used on landscape plants such as rhododendruns and azaleas during the summer and winter when they experience drying winds and water stress.

The anti-transpirant locks in moisture and is equally effective in Christmas trees, fresh cut garland and greenery!

What are you waiting for?


I applied Wilt-Pruf to the Christmas tree I bought for the Home & Family show and shared this tip with the audience.

A one quart, ready-to-use bottle is sufficient for an average five to six foot Christmas tree and costs approximately $10 dollars.

Wilt-Pruf is available in concentrate form as well.


Spray your tree with Wilt-Pruf outdoors and let it dry a few hours before bringing indoors.

Don't spray Wilt-Pruf indoors because if the natural pine oil emulsion gets on your floor and furniture, you will have to remove it with turpintine.

Pine oil is organic and non-hazardous but can be messy on your floor and furniture!


Fresh-cut-Christmas-tree-trunk-to preserve freshness edenmakersblog

2. Make a fresh, 1"-inch cut to bottom of the Christmas tree trunk at the tree lot or before placing in the stand.

Christmas trees found in a lot have been cut any where from a few days to a month ago!

Pines, firs, nobles, spruces and other popular cut trees secrete a resin when cut that covers the bottom of the tree stub.

Within one to three hours, this resin seals the bottom of the trunk and makes water infiltration very difficult.

This is why some trees dry out no matter how much water is supplied to them!


Score-bottom-of-christmas-tree-trunk for-water-takeup-edenmakersblog

3. Score the bottom of your tree trunk with a few cuts to help water uptake!

If you have never scored the bottom of your Christmas tree and have had drying issues, give this tip a try.

A few blunt cuts at the bottom of your tree trunk will give your tree even more access to water.


4. Put your tree in water within one hour of cutting your tree trunk!

You have a very small window for watering your tree after cutting and scoring the trunk.

If you aren't able to place your tree in a stand immediately, immerse the trunk in s 5 gallon bucket of water during your holding period.


5. Water your Christmas tree every day!

Don't be lazy!

I know that it's unpleasant to get on your knees, lift the bottom branches of your tree and water it, but you must do it if you want a fresh looking tree.


Cut trees require one quart of water  for each inch  of the trunk's diameter, according to the National Christmas Tree Organization.

A 6'-foot tree with a trunk that measures  4"-inches in diameter, will need to have a stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water.


Okay, here's a clever alternative to getting on your hands and knees to water your tree.

I designed a cute "Christmas Tree Watering Pole" using 1/2"-inch PVC pipe and a kitchen funnel.


It's easy to make and will cost you about $3 dollars in materials.


Shirley-Bovshow-Christmas-Tree-Watering-Pole-EdenMakersBlog made of PVC pipe and funnel, decorated like a candy cane


Shirley's "Christmas Tree Watering Pole"

Get these materials together- you will have extra pipe to make one for a friend!

  • A 10'-foot piece of PVC pipe (1/2"-inch or 1"-inch diameter) cut into three pieces, each a little over 3'-feet long.
  • Kitchen funnel with generous size well.
  • Red duct tape
  • Christmas bow
  • Christmas bells



  1. Tape the funnel to the end of your 3'-foot PVC pipe using red duct tape.
  2. Wrap red duct tape down the length of your PVC pipe so that it looks like candy cane striping.
  3. Dip your Christmas tree watering pole into your tree stand (full of water) and mark on your PVC pipe where the top of the water line is when fully immersed.
  4. Wrap duct tape where this line is so that you can use the bottom of watering pole as a "dipstick" to measure how much water is in the stand without having to bend down to see!
  5. Finish your watering pole with a pretty Christmas bow added to the neck where the funnel and PVC pipe meet and add some jingling bells.

Your kids will fight for their turn to water the tree!

Keep your decorated watering pole near your tree so you won't forget to water!
It's so cute, it will look like Christmas decor.



Other Christmas Tree Tips

1. Keep your Christmas tree away from heaters, heating vents, sunny windows, doors or windows that are constantly opened.

2. Use LED string lights instead of traditional ones as they emit less heat and are less apt to dry your tree.

3. Water, Water, Water your dang tree!


How To Pick a Fresh Christmas Tree From a Lot

1. Ask the attendant to see trees that have been recently delivered.

  Some Christmas trees that are not local are cut as early as October for December sales!


2. Take a good look at the tree!

   Yellow or brown leaves are a bad sign. 



3. Shake the tree!

Pick up the tree, shake it, or drop it a few inches to the ground to see how many needles fall.

It shouldn't look like it's raining!

A few needles dropping is normal, a lot is not!


4. Run your fingers through the branches, pulling gently at them.

   You should not have a handful of needles in your hand!

   A few needles are normal, stay away from trees in active needle drop mode.




Watch my television segment video, "Shirley Bovshow's Christmas Tree Buying Tips!"



I want you to feel empowered this year to keep your Christmas tree fresh.

Get yourself some Wilt-Pruf, follow the basic tips and make yourself a Christmas Tree Watering Pole and report back to me on how well it goes for you this holiday!

I want to know.


8 Comment

  1. Sorry for late reply John.Time off for the holidays.

    When a tree dries out like this, the best you can do is bore some holes along the trunk where water is taken up. Too late to spray with Wilt-Pruf, but try it next year. It is amazing. My tree is super fresh and hardly any needle drop.

  2. Shirley, The christmas tree at our contry weekend home went dry. We were not able to have someone water the tree for the weekdays that we were back in Chicago working.Now the well is dry. Any suggestions to try and get the dry to start taking water again? We certainly cannot take the tree from the stand to recut the bottom! 🙁 Merry Christmas John Staib and Family

  3. HI Geri!
    My pleasure. I was excited to present about the anti-transpirant and the watering stick today. These are two less commonly known solutions. Thanks for visiting EdenMakers!


  4. Thanks Bren! I can see you creating your own funnel too. You are so “hands on!” Thanks for reading and watching the show today.


  5. Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much for visiting EdenMakers and for sharing about your Christmas tree. Did you post the link?

    Happy Holidays!


  6. Dearest Shirley,

    We went out to a Christmas tree farm in Texas to get a Christmas tree, I videoed this wonderful event and added music its a Marshmallow World.  Here's the YouTube clip. I think you'll love it. My daughter-in-law is getting ready to have baby number four so she had to get this tree early and is very worried about keeping the tree fresh. This is the best info I have seen for keeping your tree fresh. Thank-you.

    You will love this video of us chopping down the Christmas Tree,

    Susan Fox,

  7. These are great tips for my newly cut Christmas tree in Ohio.  I can't wait to create my own funnel.  Looking forward to your show today. 

  8. Thanks for some fresh ideas on keeping the tree fresh, Shirley! 

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