I Need Live Christmas Tree Advice

Updated on December 13, 2012
L.A. asks from Kyle, TX
12 answers

One of my Christmas Clients purchased a 12 foot Live Christmas Tree (thank goodness, she did this on her own). The Tree lot, cut the bottom of the trunk, delivered and set up the tree, but we are noticing it is not drink up the water.

Is there any way for us to help this tree? Could we drill holes in the trunk? What will help?

Tahnks for your suggestions and experiences.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Ok, let me explain.
We are in Central Texas. This tree is 12 foot tall and 10 foot wide bottom branches.

The Trees that are shipped and sold down here are cut, way before they are trucked down. Up until yesterday it has been in the 80's.. So the trees on the lots. if we are lucky are sprayed with water, but not sitting in water. T

Once purchased, they do cut 2 inches off the bottom of the trunks then placed in stands. they then deliver them to the homes and set them up or we drive them home.

In our homes we air condition every day all day long. Today it is in the 40's.. This tree has been in a stand with water now for 12 days and totally lit (4800 lights) and decorated. Her home is almost all Glass..

Featured Answers


answers from Lakeland on

I always used ice water but it may not need to suck up so much if it is in a cool area of the home. You could try cutting an inch off the bottom, but if it was a freshly cut tree then you shouldnt need to.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Norfolk on

I would consider making a fresh cutting an inch or so off the bottom of the trunk, then set up and water it (immerse bottom of trunk in water) immediately.
This may or may not work depending on how long it has been since the tree was harvested (initially cut down).
Some trees are cut months ago - and there's no way to really revive those.
The bark of the tree trunk works like flower stems - it sucks up the water for quite awhile until bacteria builds up in the bark and eventually stops water absorption.
If you ever get roses - you can keep them going almost 2 weeks if you re-cut the stems every few days and keep them in a preserving solution which helps to slow down that bacteria growth.
Where we get our tree, they are relatively fresh, and when we make a fresh cut off the bottom and put it in water - it usually initially sucks up 1 to 1.5 gallons of water a day.
This slows down gradually till about week 4 and by then we let it dry out a few days before we take it down so we're not sloshing water all over the house come removal time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If its not drawing water... Then probably 1:2 problems.

1) Trunk cut flush.

If the trunk was cut straight across (instead of at an angle) then the weight of the tree usually pushes the trunk flush against the plastic. Like putting your hand over your mouth to cover a yawn before trying to drink.

To test: Put your hand in the stand and see if you can feel under the tree. If not?

1a) Yank it up a bunch so its 2-3" above the bottom of the stand OR
1b) Cut again, this time at an angle.

2) Sap Cap

Evergreens 'bleed' sap to cover wounds. If the tree sat for 15 minutes or more between being cut and put in water... Then sap is covering the base of the trunk nor allowing water in. This won't be visable / touchable in most cases. ONLY solution: recut trunk (at angle!) and immediately immerse in water. If it will be longer than 2-3 minutes between cutting and getting in stand... Make sure its sitting in a bucket of water.

Similarly, if its stand dries out between waterings, it will seal off its stump with a sap cap.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

I've also heard the add sugar to the water bit. My ILs do it, but I never have (that's probably a result of the fact that I grew up just going in our back pasture to cut down our tree, though!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I am in the south also, where all the trees are trucked in, and I have never seen the lots put them in water (maybe spray them, but not buckets of water). I have notice the last 2 years our trees have not drank as much as they used to. I bought this year's pretty early (about 2 days after they set up the sales tent), so maybe it was just fresher to begin with and wasn't as dehydrated.... At first it hardly drank at all, but now that it has been in my stand for about 10-12 days, it is drinking a little more.

I have read that drilling holes won't work, b/c the trees drink from the outside ring (nearest the bark), not from the very bottom or the sides anyway, but I don't know. It does seem like it might damage the phylum(?) that sends the water up to the branches though..

Perhaps more than a 2 inch cut on the bottom needed to be made though. A bigger tree and all that... maybe it dries out at the bottom deeper more quickly or something. Our tree is only 8 feet, and it drinks (on average) about one watering can per day (small maybe quart size potted plant watering can, not the big 1.5 gallon watering cans). It is still quite fresh. I have LED lights on it this year (about 1400 of them).

When I fill the base, I add warm water--not cold...

Good luck.

ETA: After reading Riley's response, I wonder if the flush placement is our problem. We bought a new stand last year and it doesn't have the prongs in the center/bottom as all our previous stands did. I didn't notice this until we already had it home putting the tree in it. I did notice this year, the ones they are selling had metal prongs in the bottom (to elevate the bottom of the tree trunk a half inch or so from sealing to the bottom of the stand). The stand we had before had plastic ones, but one of the prongs had gotten bent so it made the trees lean, so we tossed it. I think next year I will get a new stand, WITH the metal prongs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I live in SE Texas and I have always put real aspirin in my tree water.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I agree with LeeLee S but want to add that when we had a live tree, we also added sugar to the water. Not sure if it helped but my hubby swears by it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

No, don't drill anything. Just make sure that there is enough water under the tree and replenish it every few days. The room the tree is in should not be overly hot and dry and in the future immediately after cutting the bottom of the tree, stick it in a bucket of water and let it hang out in the garage for a day or 2. It does help extend the life of the tree and minimize shedding.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We get a live tree every year. They usually drink the first couple of days, then it does slow down quite a bit. Keep the tree out of direct sunlight and away from windows and also away from heating vents. That will make your tree last longer. Short of taking it down and re-cutting the tree, there is not much you can do at this point.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Our tree stand has a sharp prong like thing in the middle and you put the tree, centered, on that with water in the stand. It should drink it up and you should have to keep filling it even. I don't know what the problem would be. Could you call the place that cut the tree down?
Read #2 on this link.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We buy a 2 liter bottle of Sprite and put in our tree stand. We add more as needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Keep supplying water for the tree to drink! Check the water level several times a day. I assume there's a fresh cut to the trunk, which means it will drink the water up easily. Our live trees nearly always do this for a couple of days. Then they're happy, and the water lasts longer.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions