How to care for a real Christmas tree

Tips to keep a real Christmas tree fresh and green

Having picked the perfect Christmas tree, you’ll want to make sure it stays fresh throughout the festive season. Knowing how to properly care for your tree can be the difference between it looking full and healthy or sad and bare. So here are our easy tips for looking after your Christmas tree this holiday.

For advice on choosing the right real Christmas tree for your home, as well as inspiration for decorating your real tree, check out our handy guides.

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How to look after a real Christmas tree

You might need

  • Your real Christmas tree
  • bucket
  • Panel saw (to trim the trunk)
  • A watering can
  • pot or a Christmas tree stand (check in store for availability) to place your tree in - make sure it can hold water without leaking

Looking after your tree properly is a great way to make sure your tree looks its best for the duration of the Christmas season. How to look after your real Christmas tree may differ depending on whether you've got a pot grown or cut tree. Take a look below to find out how to care for your tree.

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Step 1

Buy your tree as early as possible! After you've chosen your cut tree, take it out of its netting and give it a good shake. It's essential you do this on the day you bring it home to prevent mould and fungus from growing in the damp branches.

Step 2

Before you set your tree up, it's a good idea to give it some water to avoid dehydration. Cut about 3cm off the bottom using a panel saw and pop it straight into a bucket of water to absorb (cutting the trunk means it takes in more water and prolongs its life - like with fresh cut flowers!)

Did you know?

When a Christmas tree is cut from its trunk over half of its weight is water.

Step 3

When you are ready to set your tree up, shake the tree outside to remove any loose foliage. Once you've brought it back indoors, stand your tree up in a Christmas tree stand. Avoid putting your real tree in sand or soil as this can reduce the amount of water it can uptake.

Step 4

Water your real Christmas tree every day to keep it looking plump and full. A dehydrated tree will start to droop and wilt quickly, so we recommend adding a minimum of 500ml of water a day. A real tree can absorb around 1-2 litres of water per day, however a cut tree will keep hydrated with less.

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Step 1

Treat your pot grown tree like a house plant. When your pot grown tree arrives home, take it out of its netting and give it a good shake to remove any loose foliage or insects.

Step 2

Before setting up your pot grown tree, we recommend giving it some time to acclimatise to the warmer air in either a garage or shed (away from any radiators). 

Did you know?

Recycled Christmas trees can be used as mulch in public parks and gardens, and to help prevent beachfront erosion.

Step 3

Once your tree has been set up in its new home for Christmas, be sure to water it regularly to keep the roots moist and cool. Tip: when caring for your pot grown Christmas tree, make sure you water the root ball.

Step 4

After Christmas, move the tree to a bigger pot to allow growing room, before moving to a sheltered spot in the garden with good light all around the tree (away from any dark corners of your garden). Keep it well watered so you can bring it indoors again for the next Christmas. Don't forget - Christmas trees that are kept outdoors may need more water to avoid them drying out!

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Once the New Year starts to roll around, it’s time to think about how to recycle your tree.

If your tree is cut:

  • Transport it to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre for recycling.
  • Find out if your local council offers a curbside collection service. You might receive a flyer or see a public notice with more details. If not, contact your council to confirm what recycling options they offer.

If your tree is pot grown:

  • Transplant it into your garden.
  • Re-pot it into a larger-sized container, being careful to give the root ball sufficient space to expand and grow. If successful, you could bring indoors to enjoy next Christmas.
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