We’ve always bought a live real Christmas tree and I absolutely love the smell of them in the house. They’re absolutely beautiful and worth the cost for our family. However, it is possible that a Christmas tree dies before Christmas Day. If you start noticing that pine needles are browning and falling off the tree, here are 5 things to try before tossing it and giving up. Don’t fret yet – it’s possible you can save your own holiday!
There was one year that our Christmas tree was browning and I couldn’t keep up with the dead pine needles falling on the ground. It was a huge mess and the tree looked so sad. The worst part is how the ornaments don’t have sturdy branches anymore. So you’re ornaments are at risk of falling and breaking.
The dangerous part of having a dead Christmas tree in your home is the fire hazard is presents. You can check out some Christmas tree fire statistics, but surprisingly, over 200 catch on fire every year in the United States. As a Christmas tree dies, it becomes an even bigger fire hazard because it’s so dry. Add electrical wrapped around it and you’ve got a house fire waiting to happen.
So it’s very important that you take care of your tree, notice when it’s dying, try to bring it back to life and also have the knowledge of when to toss it. I’m going to break it all down, in easy steps, that anyone can follow – no green thumb required.
What To Do When Your Christmas Tree Dies Before Christmas Day
Why does a Christmas tree die before Christmas Day? There are a couple of reasons you could be experiencing this. The most common one is purchasing your tree very early. Most tree lots open prior to Thanksgiving. The trees are typically cut from where they’re grown several days before that too. By the time Christmas Day arrives, you’ve had a tree that’s been cut for over a month (maybe even a month and half depending on the timing of Thanksgiving).
The second reason a Christmas tree dies is because it’s not watered properly. You have to ensure your tree gets plenty of daily water because it will send that water up to the branches. Did you know that the average Christmas tree can use as much as 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water a day? The general rule of thumb, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, is that one quart (0.95 liters) of water is required for each inch (2.54 cm) of the trunk’s diameter.
Honestly, I don’t do the proper math every year – but I do check the water daily and make sure it’s filled to the top of the tree stand, to hold the maximum amount it can at all times.
Cut Off The Bottom Of The Dead Christmas Tree
If you can take off the decor without much trouble, you can cut off the tip of the trunk using a saw. You’re cutting off the dead end and exposing fresh wood. This will help the Christmas tree absorb more water to help send up to the branches and revive the needles.
Return And Exchange When Your Christmas Tree Dies
OK, this is the most obvious and easiest answer. You can return and exchange your Christmas tree if it dies to the original tree lot. Many tree lot owners will happily give you a fresh tree, especially if you’ve been a customer for multiple holiday seasons. Before taking off your tree decor, call the tree lot or farm to ask about their exchange policy. The only issue you might have is finding the same size tree as selection is more bare as December goes on.
Drilling A Hole In The Center
If you’ve already tried cutting off the bottom of the dead tree and you’re still not having any turn around (after 48 hours) you can try drilling a hold in the bottom. That will also help send the water up to the trunk. Drill into the tree trunk about several inches. You want the water to cover the hole.
Purchase Nutrient Booster For Your Christmas Tree Water
So many people swear by adding nutrients to your Christmas tree water. It helps hydration and prevents needles from dropping. This is great to try if you’ve only noticed your needles dropping and the tree isn’t 100% brown yet. All you have to do is add a few drops into your water and follow the instructions on the package. As a bonus, most of these products also work on poinsettia and mistletoe.
Top Rated Christmas Tree Nutrient Booster Products on Amazon:
- Miracle-Gro Christmas Tree Plant Food
- Perfect Plants Christmas Tree Saver
- Prolong Christmas Tree Preservative
Remove Branches That Are Dead
If you notice that there are spots of your Christmas tree that are dying, but the whole thing isn’t dead yet, you can cut off just those branches. It’s easy to do with a sharp pair of scissors. Removing the branch will help prevent needles from collecting underneath your Christmas tree.
If you’ve tried all of that and you’re short on time, you can always bite the bullet and purchase an artificial Christmas tree. I know if you’re a fan of real trees that they’re not the same – but sometimes it’s just about celebrating around a tree. I promise that kids will be happy either way. In a pinch, Amazon Prime is my go-to when I need holiday decor delivered fast.