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Fresh-cut Tree Care

When a Christmas tree is cut, typically over half of its weight is water. With proper care you can maintain the quality of your displayed trees. Below are a number of tips relating to the care of fresh-cut trees:


1. Displaying trees and water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.


2. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Try not to bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.


3. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. Tree-StandAs a general rule stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.


4. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient and taking up water and should not be removed. 


5. Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). A lower room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.


6. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.


7. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.

ledsoftlights8. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights or LED, will reduce the drying of the tree. 


9. Always turn off any decorative tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.


10. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.


Go to and type in your ZIP Code to find a recycling program near you.


Information in this article has been extracted from "How to Care for Your Farm-Grown Fresh Christmas Tree" Written by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley and edited by the Scientific Research Committee of the National Christmas Tree Association.


Local Tree Recycling:

Christmas trees can be dropped off until Jan. 31 at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Building in Bowling Green at 970 Bennett Lane, Western Kentucky University’s farm on the Nashville Road, the Barren County landfill or Allen County-Scottsville refuse transfer station on Halifax Road.


— For more information, call the Southwestern Fisheries District office of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet at (800) 858-1549 in Frankfort or locally at 746-7127or 746-7129.

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