How to keep your Christmas tree healthy

Many people are cutting their own trees. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

Thomas Warren,

WASHINGTON – Whether you buy a Christmas tree at the store, or cut one down yourself, keeping it healthy in your home during the holidays requires maintenance.

“You’re going to cut about an inch off the stump, and you’re going to immediately put into hot water, about 100-degree water,” says Frank Gouin, horticulturist and former University of Maryland professor.

Gouin has grown, raised and maintained Christmas trees at his UpaKrik Farm in Deale, Md. for 18 years.

If a newly bought tree is not immediately brought inside to be set up, it’s best to keep it outside, according to Gouin.

“That’s because outside is cooler, and therefore it will lose less water,” Gouin says.

Once the tree is brought inside, the key to the tree’s longevity is a clean stand and clean water.

Gouin advises cutting the tree another inch before placing it in a stand, but he advises against feeding it aspirins.

“I’ve never saw a tree, and I’ve been working with trees for over 40 years, have a headache,” Gouin says.

A material called Floralife, which is used to control bacteria in flowers, is another viable option to feed to the tree.

With the right treatment a tree could stay healthy another two weeks after Christmas.

Wreaths, Gouin says, should be placed in a tub of warm water, and left to sit overnight before being hung on the front door.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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