Extension Office Offers Tree Tips

Keeping your cut Christmas tree fresh so that it lasts longer is relatively simple. Make a fresh cut on the trunk when the tree is purchased and keeping it watered. 
Bring their trees home and immediately make a fresh, straight cut across the base of the trunk before the tree is set up and decorated. The cut should be about one-quarter to on-half and inch above the original cut, and place the tree in a tree stand that holds about a gallon of water immediately.
Keep the tree stand filled with water. A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. If you keeping the tree watered it prevents the needles from drying and dropping and the boughs from drooping. Water also keeps the tree fragrant.
And if you don’t add enough water? A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in 4 to 6 hours if the water drops below the base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled.
It is not recommended to add additives to the water. Advertisements on television, radio and newspapers sometimes suggest products that you add to the water in the tree stand that will prolong the “freshness” of the tree. Some of these concoctions include water-holding gels, commercial additives, bleach, syrup, aspirin, floral preservatives, sugar, soda, honey and even vodka or gin. Research at several universities has shown that these additives tend to deter water absorption and may actually accelerate needle loss.
Just plain tap water is all that is needed to maintain freshness.