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How to prevent Christmas tree needle drop


You can't beat a real Christmas tree, but fallen needles and bare branches don't look particularly festive. Find out how to avoid Christmas tree needle drop, below.

How to do it


When buying the tree, check that its needles are firmly attached to the branches. Look at the base of the tree where it was sawn and ensure it is pale. This means the tree is freshly harvested and will last longer than a tree which has been off its roots for a while.


Choose a good variety, such as the cone-shaped 'Nordman' or citrus-scented Douglas fir. They're more expensive than the traditional Norway spruce, but they hold their needles well.


Before you position and decorate your tree, take it out of its net wrapping and place it in a bucket of water in a cool, shady spot outdoors. This allows the branches to settle and rehydrates the tree. Give your tree a vigorous shake before taking it inside, to dislodge any loose needles.


Saw a few centimetres off the bottom of the trunk to enable it to absorb more water. You can also score the bark roughly at the base of the tree, to maximise water absorption. If you use a water clamp to hold your tree, make sure it's big enough. Never peel off the bark to make it fit or the tree will dry out – water is only taken up through the tree in the layers just below the bark. Choose a cool spot indoors away from radiators and choose low-heat fairy lights.

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Talkback: How to prevent Christmas tree needle drop
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Gale 15/12/2011 at 22:06

We bought our tree and set it up only to find that within a day we seem to be losing quite a few needles. Once the needles begin to drop is there any way to reverse the condition. The stand is full of water and a preservative mix. We would like to prolong the life of our tree since Christmas is still 10 days away. Thank you for your time.

Botticelliwoman 17/12/2011 at 08:18

A few drops of bleach in the water is reckoned to work

Christabel Noituk 11/12/2015 at 11:30

This was a great source of information, I wanted to tell you that I used it in my article on Christmas tree needle drop: :) I found and included some really interesting facts about actual scientists took on the job of stopping Christmas tree needle drop!

Fairygirl 11/12/2015 at 13:34

I really don't think there's an issue with the old style fir tree. Keep it outside when you buy it, cut a few inches off the bottom and put it in a bucket of water. Bring it in about a week before Christmas - don't expect it to look good for four or five weeks - make sure it has plenty of water throughout it's time indoors. Keep it away from radiators or any other obvious major heat sources. No problems 

Hostafan1 11/12/2015 at 14:50

or buy a fake one? 

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