Get the lowdown on Christmas tree care (and what to do with it afterwards)

If you’re opting for a real version this year, discover the essentials of Christmas tree care

Christmas tree care tips
(Image credit: Dobbies)

Looking for some top tips on Christmas tree care to make sure yours is still looking its best when the big day arrives? Christmas has started early this year for many of us as we aim to bring some festive cheer to our homes amid the somber daily news. As a result, many people have already bought their Christmas tree with growers UK wide reporting a bumper year, according to BBC News.

A real tree is a wonderful part of your seasonal decorations, but opting for one of these rather than the artificial kind does bring with it a few Christmas tree care requirements if it’s to last and stay looking good in the warm interior of your home. And that care is particularly crucial if your tree is to be the focal point of your living room for longer than it ever has been before.

The good news is that a Christmas tree should last four weeks or more, according to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA). All it takes is a little looking after, and we’ve put together the information you need to do just that.

You’ll find our tips below along with advice on what you should do with your tree when the festive season is over. Check out, too, our feature on how to grow your own Christmas tree if you'd like a homegrown version in your living space next year. 

8 top tips on Christmas tree care

Christmas tree care

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

1. When you’ve brought the tree home (or had it delivered), take off the net. The supplier may have cut a little from the base of the trunk when you chose your tree, but if this hasn’t been done, you can saw 2.5cm off to allow the tree to take in more water. Stand it in a bucket of water until you are ready to bring it into the house and decorate it.

2. Position your tree away from radiators or other heat sources once it’s in your home. Got underfloor heating? The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) suggests turning that zone off while the tree’s in place or, if that’s not possible, put the tree on a mat.

3. Water your tree daily, bearing in mind that it requires from 1 to 2 litres of water per day depending on its size and how warm you keep the interior of your home. Using a Christmas tree stand that holds water makes this job easy.

4. If you’ve opted for a pot-grown rather than cut Christmas tree, water the root ball. Make sure you keep the soil moist at all times. A pot-grown tree is best kept inside for a minimum amount of time. The RHS suggests bringing one of these indoors the weekend before Christmas.

5. When Christmas is over, a pot-grown tree can go into the garden. Either plant it out or re-pot it into a larger container to give the roots room to grow.

6. Cut trees can be recycled. They’re shredded and used in parks or woodland areas, according to national recycling campaign Recycle Now. Your local authority may organise a collection or create drop-off points. Check its website for information.

7. You can deal with the tree yourself as an alternative. The RHS suggests letting it rot in the garden once you’ve cut it into sticks. This method has the advantage of providing support for insects and wildlife.

8. Thinking of putting your tree on the compost heap? You’d need to break it down into really small pieces first and a shredder would come in very useful. The woodiest pieces can take a couple of years to decompose, though. Find out what else you can and can't add to your compost heap in our how to compost guide. 

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