1. Freshness is extremely important when selecting a Christmas tree. If you are going to a farm to choose and cut your Christmas tree, then it will obviously be fresh, but if you are purchasing your tree from a retail lot or a store, you want to make sure it is fresh. Take hold of a branch about six inches from the tip, between your thumb and forefinger, then pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. The needles should adhere to the branch and not fall off in your hand. The needles should be flexible, not brittle. Bump the base end of the tree lightly against the ground to verify that the needles are firmly attached and to see if any outside needles fall off. If only a few drop off, the tree is fresh.
2. It’s best to store your tree outside until you’re ready to set up and decorate the tree. Store the tree in a cool place protected from the sun and wind and be sure that the base of the trunk is submerged in water until you are ready to bring it inside.
3. Choose a stand that is sturdy and holds at least one gallon of water.
4. When you are ready to bring your tree inside and decorate it, make a fresh, straight cut across the trunk about a ½-inch or so above the original cut. Place the trunk in fresh water. The tree may require from 2 quarts to a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the trunk, a seal will form, and the tree will not absorb water. A new cut will be required for the tree to absorb water.
5. Be sure the base of the tree is well supported, and that the tree is away from open flame or other heat sources such as electric heaters.
6. Always keep your fresh tree in a stand that holds lots of water. Check the water level daily. After about a week the water intake will slow down, and daily refills should be fine. As a rule, a tree can use up to a quart of water per day for each inch of stem diameter. The warmer the temperature and the lower the relative humidity where the tree is displayed, the greater the amount of water required by the tree.
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