1. K-State home
  2. »Research and Extension
  3. »Johnson County
  4. »Lawn and Garden
  5. »Agent Articles
  6. »Miscellaneous
  7. »Living Christmas Tree Care

Johnson County

Research-based Information You Can Trust — Localized for your needs

Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

Map to our office

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Living Christmas Tree Care

christmas treeAir chilling and December (somehow) just around the corner, there is one specialty crop that will soon be on the minds of many. Living Christmas trees will soon begin their annual stocking in retail stores, wandering to their respective homes. So, what can you do to get the most out of them?

Select a Tree that is Lively

A dried-out Christmas tree can easily spell the difference between a classical Christmas in your home and a cleaning nightmare. Nobody wants to spend their holidays sweeping up needles, and they certainly don’t want a bare-twigged fire trap to place their presents under. To begin avoiding this, check your tree’s needles at the time of tree selection. Breaking them, they should still readily ooze sap. They should also still be full of green, lively, color. If your needles are brittle or a dull gray, look elsewhere.

Keep Your Tree Hydrated

A store-bought living Christmas tree has likely, obviously, already been cut. After all, they don’t have roots attached to their base. But did you know that you should cut it again? A store-bought tree has likely already been severed for a while, which means that the resin at the sever point has already begun to harden, clogging the parts of the tree that uptake water. To reopen these parts, cut another inch or two off your tree’s trunk and then immediately get the tree into its basin, which should always remain full, as failure to keep it full will mean that you will have to keep cutting pieces from the bottom of your tree.

Be Choosy with a Location

As alluded to, living Christmas trees can have a reputation for being highly flammable when they have not been properly maintained. Even still, best safety practices should be kept even with the liveliest of trees. Avoid placing your tree next to flammable areas like fireplaces or ovens. You’ll also even want to avoid heating ducts, as these can assist in drying your tree out much faster than otherwise. Your best bet is to place your tree next to a cold windowpane, as the refrigerator effect will help in preserving it for the season. Never place a tree in an area that blocks exits.

Be Smart with Your Decorations

With today's energy-savvy, stranded Christmas lights with bulbs that don’t burn out, living Christmas trees are a much safer prospect than they were in 1950. Take advantage of this technological advancement, and don’t put your safety at risk by stranding lights from 1950 onto your tree. Likewise, pay attention to cord placement when your lights are attached. Avoid placing cords in walking areas, as a trip could result in your tree toppling over you or into something flammable. Keep all electrical components cleared away from the water basin.

These tips followed, you’re all set for your holidays with this particularly special, specialty crop.

Back to Agent Articles.