Whether you're a long-time real Christmas tree buyer or you're buying your first-ever real Christmas tree, it's important to know the proper way to take care of them. Even if you think you're an expert, it's always nice to have a refresher course and some good reminders as you're getting ready to set your tree up. A dry Christmas tree can be a major fire hazard. How fast can an entire room start on fire if your tree is improperly cared for? Pretty dang quick.

Unsplash - Felicia Buitenwerf
Unsplash - Felicia Buitenwerf

Before Buying A Real Christmas Tree

Before you head out to one of Iowa's many Christmas tree farms and cut down the perfect tree for your home, it's important to remember that if you live in an apartment or a house that you rent, you should check your lease or contact your landlord to find out if you're allowed to have a real tree.

Christmas trees may be gorgeous and give you a huge boost of Christmas spirit but it's important to remember they are a fire hazard and can cause huge problems. A tree that is improperly cared for can go up in flames in a matter of seconds. Watch how fast this dry tree goes up in flames and sets an entire room on fire.

If your landlord doesn't want to take the risk of a fire on their property, you should respect that. Save yourself some time and money before buying a real tree and find out if you're allowed to have one first.

How to Properly Care for a Christmas Tree

1 - Now that you know you're in the clear to buy a real Christmas tree this holiday season the first thing you should do when picking out a tree is to make sure the tree fits your home. Before you go picking the biggest and best tree you can find, you need to have realistic expectations on the size of the tree you're able to place in your home.

Once you've picked out a tree that will properly fit in your home and you've brought it to the house, the first thing you need to do is make a fresh cut when you get home. When you're cutting down a tree at a tree farm it can be tough to make sure the bottom cut is flat, so when you get the tree home, make a fresh, flat cut, so the tree will sit properly in your tree stand.

2 - Pick a spot that is far away from any kind of heat source. It should go without saying but any heater, stove, oven, television, computer, or fireplace should not be anywhere close to your tree. All of these appliances can remove moisture from the tree. The dryer a Christmas tree is the bigger the fire hazard it becomes.

3 - Once you've made a fresh cut and found a safe space for the tree to sit, grab some water as soon as the tree is up. The more water you can have in your tree stand the better off you'll be. Research does vary on water temperature. Some websites will say cold water is your best friend, while others say warm water. I've always personally used room-temperature water and it's been just fine.

4 - Despite what you've maybe been told, do not add food coloring to the Christmas tree. According to Christmas Designers and MNCTA Tree Care, no additives like fertilizer, corn syrup, or sugar will extend the life of the tree, and adding green food coloring will not make the needles any greener. These additives can decrease a tree's moisture retention, lead to an increase in needle loss, and dry the tree out faster.

5 - Last but not least, make sure to add water to the tree stand every day. Before you go to work, check the water level, when you get home from work, check the water level, when you're done eating dinner, check the water level, before you go to sleep (say it with me) check the water level.

It's not quite the same as taking care of a baby or a dog, but a Christmas tree is something you have to pay attention to. According to How Stuff Works, a Christmas tree can drink up to 1 gallon of water per day.

You can keep your home and family safe this holiday season using these tips for properly caring for your tree. Now the only thing left to do is bust out the decorations. Who gets to put the star on top this year?

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