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7 top tips to keep your Christmas tree alive for longer

Prevent a festive disaster with these top tips

Whether you're team November for putting up your Christmas tree like King Charles and the Prince and Princess of Wales or you're holding out until 1 December, you will definitely want to know how to make it last throughout the festive season.

Who better to turn to for expert tips than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's former Christmas tree sellers, Pines and Needles? Not only did they provide the royal couple with a Christmas tree when they spent their very first Christmas together in London, they also have the know-how for keeping your tree looking fresh until January.

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"It's the most celebrated event of the year but millions of people still aren’t aware of how to look after their Christmas tree," Pines and Needles' director Veronika Kusak explains. "Treat a Christmas tree in the same way you would with cut flowers - trim the end, put it in water and don't put it next to a radiator!"

We've also called on gardening expert Samantha Jones from MyJobQuote for some extra tips on keeping your tree looking perky for longer. Read on to discover the secrets! 

1. Prepare your tree trunk

If you haven't installed your tree already, make sure you 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. 

Keeping your tree outside will make it last longer!

2. Keep it away from any heat sources

Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat, air conditioning and dehumidifiers dry out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.

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Wicker tree skirt, £20, Dunelm

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3. Give your tree a routine

Do not expose your tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees, like most people, are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.

Krinner classic standard Christmas tree stand, £49, Homebase

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4. Think about where you place your Christmas tree

Trees are used to the great outdoors so a warm and cosy room may not be the best idea. Christmas trees do not like heat, so it is recommended to keep them in the coolest room such as a conservatory. Alongside temperature, consider other factors such as children and pounce prone pets, who might accidentally damage the tree (and themselves) by pulling on it. 

Christmas trees are better in cooler rooms

5. Water your Christmas tree often  

The scent of a real Christmas tree is often the sole reason people purchase this over a fake tree. For the freshest smells that linger throughout your home, check the stand daily for water levels. A well-watered tree will allow it to ‘breathe’ and circulate the beautiful smells around your home better. Despite popular belief, the temperature of the water or drilling holes at the bottom of your tree don’t help with water retention so you can skip these steps!

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6. Look out for dropped needles

A floor covered in dropped needles is never a good sign, as they signal tree decay. Other signs to look out for include dried brittle branches or a lack of smell (unless it is a Nordmann fir which doesn’t have a distinctive scent!). If you notice any of these, check the water levels of your reservoir immediately. You can also experiment with adding tree-preserving solutions, homemade or otherwise, but clean and fresh water is best.

7. Keep on watering the tree!

We can't say this enough - 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. 

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