How To Care For A Real Christmas Tree

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the ideal time to start thinking about your Christmas tree. If you’re looking to fully embrace the festive season this year, there really is a lot to be said for a real Christmas tree. Though they may come with some additional care, the results are well worth it!

Your potted or cut Christmas tree can remain to look its best all season long with the right care. To keep your real Christmas tree making an impression all the way through to New Year, look no further than our handy Christmas tree care guide.

Christmas tree with red baubles and heart decorations

How to care for a potted Christmas tree

There are a whole host of benefits to buying a potted Christmas tree: you get all the perks of a real Christmas tree, yet the ease of your tree arriving pre-planted.

There are, however, a number of steps you should take to ensure you get the absolute best from your potted Christmas tree.

Acclimate your Christmas tree

The first thing you need to do is acclimate your Christmas tree. Bringing your tree indoors too quickly can shock an outdoor door, and the sudden exposure to warmer temperatures can encourage tree growth: something to be avoided where possible with an indoor Christmas tree.

You can acclimate your tree by moving it from outdoors into an unheated garage, shed or indoor porch. This will help the tree slowly adjust to warmer temperatures.

Check your Christmas tree for bugs

Bringing a tree into your home from the outdoors always comes with the risk of bugs. While bugs tend to thrive in the summer months, some could remain on your tree into winter and could become active once they are exposed to warmer temperatures indoors.

Double-check your tree for bugs before you bring it inside, by shaking it over a sheet or towel.

Spray the needles of your Christmas tree

To prevent the needles of the tree from dropping, and to help maintain moisture within the tree, it is important to spray your Christmas tree with an anti-desiccant or anti-wilt product.

Before bringing your tree indoors, spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves, as well as the needles of your tree. This spray will need to be left to dry outdoors before your tree is brought into the house.

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees freshly cut in farm

Where to place your Christmas tree

Remember: your Christmas tree is a living plant, and will need to be treated as such. Be careful where you place your potted Christmas tree – anywhere too hot, for example in direct sunlight, or next to a radiator, will have a detrimental effect on the health of the tree. Somewhere cool, dry and shaded is ideal.

Watering your potted Christmas tree

It is extremely important during the transition period to keep your Christmas tree watered. With a pre-potted Christmas tree, you need to ensure you soak the rootball. Be careful not to overwater your Christmas tree – the soil around the tree should be moist, rather than overly wet or drowning.

Decorating your potted Christmas tree

Once your potted Christmas tree is indoors and prepared you can move on to the fun part – decorating your tree! When decorating a real Christmas tree there are a number of things you should be wary of.

    • Use LED lights. These don’t give off heat, so won’t damage your tree.
    • Hang lighter ornaments and Christmas decorations. Anything too bulky or heavy will weigh down and potentially damage your tree.

Maintaining your potted Christmas tree

So, your Christmas tree is set up, lit up, and looking fantastic. But you still need to keep on top of maintenance, to ensure your tree looks its best all through the Christmas period. The most important thing to be aware of is maintaining the moisture in your Christmas tree as, once a tree dries out, it may not recover.

    • Regularly check the water levels in your Christmas tree’s basin.
    • 1-2” of water is an optimum amount to have in the bottom of your Christmas tree container. Any less and the tree may dry out; any more, and you could drown the roots of your tree.
    • If you need to add more moisture to the body of your tree, you can do so with a spray bottle. Be especially careful when spraying near lights or ornaments.

Replanting your potted Christmas tree

Once you have finished with your Christmas tree, why not replant it outdoors? With a little preparation, and in the right area, your Christmas tree can thrive for years to come!

    • First, check whether your tree is suitable for your area and the climate. Specifically, your tree needs to be positioned in a space that is protected from high winds and receives enough natural sunlight.
    • If the ground in which you are planting your tree is prone to freezing, you will need to dig the hole ahead of time – early winter is ideal.
    • The diameter of the hole for your Christmas tree should be around four to five times the size of the tree’s root ball. It should also be slightly shallower than the root ball in depth.
    • When planting your Christmas tree, plant slightly higher than the surrounding soil. This will help with drainage.

A man shopping for a real life Christmas tree

How To Care For A Cut Christmas Tree

If you are opting for a cut Christmas tree, there are a number of additional steps you should take to ensure it stays healthy through to the New Year.

Preparing your cut Christmas tree

In order to prepare your tree for mounting, you will need to cut around half an inch to an inch (1.3 cm-2.5 cm) from the base of the tree. This will help aid water absorption.

A chainsaw or manual saw is ideal for this job. Anything that will cause friction (such as a reciprocal saw) will create heat which may seal the end of the tree and make it impossible for water to be absorbed.

Cover the floor where your Christmas tree will be placed

Whether you use a properly sewn tree skirt or a budget-savvy DIY floor covering, a covering is vital not only for decorative purposes but for keeping your floor clean, dry and protected.  

If you have a skirt that goes over the cradle, you can place a barrier underneath the cradle and then apply the decorative skirt once your tree has been mounted.

How to mount your Christmas tree

Once you have cut your tree aim to mount within around eight hours, as this is the longest a fresh tree can go without water before its absorption ability is jeopardized.

Your cut Christmas tree should never be mounted dry: it should instead be placed in a container of water that is regularly replenished. We would recommend a specialised Christmas tree holder or stand that screws into the base of the tree and provides watering space. When mounting, take extra care to ensure your tree is stable and secure. Never whittle down the bark of the tree to help it fit in a stand, as this outer layer is the area which absorbs the most water.

Once mounted and secure, the tree should be provided with 950ml of water for every inch (2.5cm) of trunk diameter.

Maintaining your cut Christmas tree

A cut Christmas tree will need regular watering to ensure it looks its best throughout the festive period. Be especially vigilant in the first few hours after mounting, as your tree can drink up to a full gallon during this time! Make sure your tree has all the water it needs during this critical first few hours, then make sure to add additional water every day, aiming to never let your water level go below the base of the tree.

Pot-Grown Christmas Trees in red pots

Disposing of your Christmas tree

So, Christmas is over and it’s time to wave goodbye to your Christmas tree. But what is the best way to dispose of it?

As a cut Christmas tree has no roots, it cannot be replanted. If you have enough spare room in the garden, you can leave your tree there until spring, when you can chip it into garden mulch. Otherwise, you should instead dispose of your tree as garden waste, or make use of a tree collection program.

Christmas trees for sale at Gardeners Dream

If you’re looking for real Christmas trees that boast exceptional quality, look no further than the Gardeners Dream collection. We offer a stunning array, guaranteed to bring some extra festive cheer into your home. From the beautiful Norway Spruce Fresh Cut Christmas Tree to the classic Fraser Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree, and everything in between, you’re sure to find the perfect choice for you and your home this Christmas.

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