Samuel Lyle, owner of Pines and Needles, said despite Christmas trees being a long-standing tradition, millions of Britons were still unsure how to look after them. Here are his top tips to look after your tree:
Prepare The Trunk
Just before you install your tree, saw off the bottom 1” (3cm) of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut. The tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action. We do this to all our trees so you don’t have to!
Keep Away From The Heat
Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.
Creatures of Habit
Do not expose your tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees like most people are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.
Place your tree in plain water – not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially designed Christmas Tree Stand. Many precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas Tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones!
Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day, depending on its size and your central heating settings. This is very important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will re-seal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re-fill the Christmas tree stand.
These trees are natural living things, and once they are cut they begin to die, sad as this is apart from artificial trees we are still without a solution to this simple fact of life. Time the arrival of your tree with this in mind to increase longevity and get the most out of it.
It may sound obvious, but two people are better than one if that’s possible – even if it’s just for the lights. Lights go on first and it’s great if one person can feed them to the other as they wind it round and round, starting at the bottom. Embed the lights in the lush greenery and then move out as you go up. The heavier the decorations the more you’ll need to keep them away from the tips of the branches. Everyone has a different way of decorating but themes look good. Tinsel has been dying out for a while but ribbon is en vogue, but go horizontally rather than at an angle – it’s a much cleaner look.
How To Puppy-proof Your Tree:
If you have a very young puppy or a very excited one, maybe think about getting a smaller tree and placing it on a side table instead of on the ground so that puppy can’ t reach it. If you can’t bear to part with your bigger, ceiling-topping tree, try and secure the tree to the wall using hooks that don’t leave wall marks so that no matter how much tugging puppy does, the tree will stand tall!
It’s really important to think about where you’re placing your Christmas tree. You want it to be the pride of place, where you can enjoy it all festive season but you also want it in a low traffic area to keep the tree and your decorations that little bit safer from inquisitive puppies!
Go bare at first
Before you decorate your Christmas tree, leave it up for a few days so that your pooch can get used to having a tree in the house. That way they’ll be less interested in it and more likely to leave it alone once it’s decorated and has lights and baubles hanging off it!
You need to be super careful with any electrical wires leading from your tree to a plug socket, not only could your pup get tangled in them but there’s also a risk of an electrical shock if they’re a chewer. Try hiding any wires or having them higher up if possible.
It goes without saying, any fragile ornaments or particularly sentimental ones, should go higher up on the tree so your dog doesn’t go for them. Not only will you lose your gorgeous decorations but it could be a choking hazard or cause paw or mouth injuries.