This Christmas season, households across the UK are embracing the enchanting Christmas spirit. Many are opting for real Christmas trees to adorn their homes. This year, interest in real trees has surged, with Google searches for “real Christmas tree” increasing 376% over the past month. That’s compared to a 196% rise for “fake Christmas trees”. Clearly, authentic pines are becoming the preferred choice for the Christmas holidays.
But how does one keep a real tree looking fresh throughout the season? David Johnson, technical and category manager at The Underfloor Heating Store, shares advice on preserving its beauty as the focal point. He covers crucial tips like maintaining optimal room temperature, choosing the right space for it, rotating it periodically, and hydrating it sufficiently without overwatering.
By following these simple guidelines, your real tree can remain vibrant and magical all the way until Christmas morning.
The optimum temperature
Maintaining your home’s temperature is a critical step if you want your tree to last in the lead-up to Christmas Day and beyond. Keep the room temperature between 18–22°C. Any hotter or colder, your tree will likely dry out faster and start losing its needles.
Choosing the right room
According to David Johnson: “Choosing the right location for your Christmas tree can significantly impact its freshness and longevity. To keep your tree looking best throughout the holiday season, place it in a room away from the direct blast of your heating sources.”
Try to avoid rooms with radiators or fireplaces emitting high heat levels, as this will accelerate the drying process. Although a popular spot for trees, we tend to spend a lot of time in living rooms, which are often the most heated rooms in the home. The kitchen is also too hot with steam from cooking and heat from ovens. Instead, opt for a cooler spot like entryways, hallways, or dining rooms, if available. If, however, you can’t resist the allure of a crackling fire, make sure to keep your tree at a safe distance.
Rotating your tree every few days
If your tree is near a window or exposed to direct sunlight, it’s a good idea to rotate it regularly to ensure an even distribution of sunlight and heat exposure. This will prevent one side from getting too much sunlight, meaning it will grow more uniformly and is less likely to dry out on just one side. Enlist the help of your household and give your tree a gentle spin every few days.
The underfloor heating advantage
For those lucky enough to have underfloor heating, David points out, “Underfloor heating offers a distinct advantage when it comes to keeping your tree fresher for longer. Placing your tree in a room with underfloor heating allows you to create a cosy, festive atmosphere without subjecting your tree to too much direct heat. Unlike traditional radiators that may create hotspots, underfloor heating ensures a consistent and uniform temperature, reducing the risk of premature drying.”
But it’s still a good idea to protect the base of your tree by using a mat between the floor and your tree stand. You will still need to adjust the thermostat to maintain a moderate temperature. While underfloor heating is generally tree-friendly, excessively high temperatures can still pose a risk, so striking a balance is essential. Thankfully, most modern underfloor heating systems come equipped with adjustable thermostats, allowing you to fine-tune the temperature to your preference.
Keeping your tree hydrated, not drenched
David recommends that when it comes to watering your Christmas tree, it can be tempting to give it lots of water due to its size, but moderation is key. Instead of drenching the base, maintain a consistent water level just below where the trunk has been cut. A well-hydrated tree will look luscious, but excess water can lead to root rot and compromise its freshness.
When you get home, trim the base of your tree before placing it in the stand. A fresh cut will expose the tree’s vascular system, allowing it to absorb water more efficiently. Make the cut at a slight angle to maximise the surface area.
Managing moisture with an air humidifier
Maintaining adequate humidity levels in your home can significantly help preserve your tree’s freshness. If you already have a humidifier, especially if you have central heating, using it over the festive period is a great way to prevent the air from becoming too dry. A little extra moisture will go a long way in keeping your tree looking its best.