Christmas tree triage
The concensus seems to be that vodka and aspirin do not make a significant difference in the life span of a Christmas tree, but they might make the business of buying one and putting it up easier on the humans in the equation.
At this time of year, there are lots of myths and old wives's tales about how to keep a Christmas tree from dropping its needles like rain. They involve everything from boric acid to lemon juice.
But it may be that you just need to water your tree. A lot. They can take up more than a gallon a day, whether it has sugar in it or not.
Here are some other tips:
- The best way to have a fresh tree is to cut it yourself at a tree farm. If that isn't possible, check the freshness of a tree by banging its trunk against the ground. It should not drop many needles.
- Ask the salesperson to make a fresh cut at the base of the tree and put the tree in water the moment you get home, whether you plan to put it up immediately or not. The tree will begin to sap over within hours, making it impossible to take up water, unless it is immersed. In any case, a day or two in a tub of water in a cool, sheltered spot, like the garage, will help revive the tree.
- If you want to be certain that your tree is taking in the maximum amount of water, drill a few shallow holes around the base of the trunk. There are lots of commercial products that claim to prolong the life of the tree, but, again, a lot of water seems to be the answer. Check it every day.
- It makes sense to purchase a tree disposal bag and place it under the tree as you set it up. That makes it easier to collect the tree and recyle it after Christmas.
- Obviously, don't put the tree near a heat source. But a cold draft will dry the tree out, too. So will direct sunlight.
- In any case, expect the tree to last a maximum of four weeks.