Nearly 36 million households will purchase a Christmas tree this year, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. Although there’s debate about whether real or fake Christmas trees are better, those who opt for the authentic kind can shell out a collective total of $984 million to deck their halls. But nothing puts a damper on holiday cheer quite like a dry, brittle tree that has lost its fragrance. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
First and foremost, you’ll need to place your tree in water as soon as possible. Keeping the base of your tree wet maintains the freshness of the needles for a month or longer, a 2010 study found.
As a general rule of thumb, the typical tree will absorb a quart of water for each inch of its diameter, according to Mark Derowitsch, a spokesperson for the Arbor Day Foundation. He recommends placing your tree in a bucket of water and refilling it every day. Find out more secrets your Christmas tree wishes you knew.
Some people also use commercial Christmas tree preservatives, which can be stirred into the water in your tree’s stand. Others mix aspirin or a tablespoon of corn syrup or sugar in the water as an additional food source for the tree, Tchukki Andersen, a staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association, told Popular Mechanics.
But before you run out to the grocery store, take this advice with a grain of salt. Some experts say that adding any type of substance won’t do the tree any good. “Clean water still works the best,” says tree scientist Les Werner.
The bottom line: A little H2O can keep your tree feeling holly and jolly all season long. Now that you have a fresh tree, spruce it up with these cheap, easy DIY Christmas decorations.