Although fake Christmas trees are becoming popular, there is nothing quite like a freshly-cut Christmas tree. Sure, the latter requires greater maintenance and care, but if you do all the right things, you can be the proud owner of a fabulous Christmas tree!
One of the banes of setting up a live Christmas tree in the home is the infamous ‘needle drop’. Even the best firs and spruce trees can’t escape it. But there are ways in which you can minimise the drop and increase your tree’s needle retention.
Here are 7 easy steps to avoid the Christmas tree needle drop:
1. Choose your tree carefully. Ideally, choose a locally sourced and grown tree rather than one that has been imported from abroad. The most important condition for selecting a tree is its needle retention properties. The popular preferences for a live Christmas tree are the Norway spruce (traditional choice but with a quick needle drop rate); Nordmann fir (dark green and expensive but also boasts of a slow needle drop); Noble fir (the king of Christmas trees and again holds a better track record of needle drop than the Norway spruce); Fraser fir (excellent needle-holding properties and a lovely pine fragrance to boot and resembles the Norway spruce).
2. Have it ‘shaken’ manually or mechanically at the place of purchase itself so that you can judge the needle drop for yourself. This exercise also removes any insects, egg masses or trash that might have gathered on the tree. If green needles drop off, steer clear from buying that particular tree. It simply means that this tree has been cut quite some time back and has lost most of its moisture.
3. Carrying it home. Avoid exposing the freshly-cut tree to the wind as this may begin the drying process even before the tree reaches home. If you can, try and cart it in your car or if loading it onto a trailer, make sure you cover the top of the trailer.
4. After bringing the tree home, bang it on the ground to dislodge any needles which the tree in any case sheds as matter of natural course. This avoids a mess inside the house. Then, trim off an inch or so from below the trunk. This opens up the pores and allows water to flow easily through the tree thus keeping it fresh for a longer time.
5. For best results keep the tree in a cool place and delay getting it inside for as long as possible. Usually the weekend before Christmas is ideal. Till then keep it in a bucket of water and water it daily.
6. Avoid heat. Generally, Christmas trees are problem-free trees even indoors as long as they are kept away from heat as it is the greatest enemy of a freshly-cut tree. This includes radiators, fireplaces and even warm lights as they drain the moisture from the needles and hasten the ‘dropping’ process.
7. Water it religiously. Place your Christmas tree in a special tree stand inside the house and make sure you water it every day. These evergreen trees require a lot of water to remain hydrated and well, evergreen! Even a low needle drop tree requires as much as a pint of water a day to remain fresh through the Christmas season. All Christmas trees require regular watering twice a day in the first week, after which they start consuming less water but still need it on a daily basis nevertheless!
So, keep these tips in mind to minimise the needle drop of your Christmas tree.