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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.
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.
Choose low-heat fairy lights if you're buying new ones and always turn your lights off at night.
Thin densely branched trees to create a more graceful shape. This reduces the speed at which the remaining branches dry out. You can use the clippings to create decorations elsewhere.
Keep the water around the trunk topped up - in a warm room, a Christmas tree can drink a litre of water a day.
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.
17/12/2011 at 08:18
A few drops of bleach in the water is reckoned to work