Sugar Water for Christmas Trees:
But if you're looking for even more tips on how to keep a Christmas tree alive for longer, you'll also find those here. Because why go out and spend a fortune on a gorgeous green tree, only to have it dry and crumble before Christmas day?
Making Sugar Water for Christmas TreesThere is some disagreement as to whether or not adding sugar water to your Christmas tree actually helps retain its needles and moisture longer (see the theory behind the sugar water method near the bottom of the page). Some swear by the effectiveness of this solution, while others will tell you that fresh water works just as well.
The truth? It's uncertain as to which "camp" is correct. How fast a Christmas tree dries out depends on more than just the Xmas tree water-- it also depends on the type of tree, its freshness, and a bunch of environmental factors. That said, using sugar water in a Christmas tree stand won't harm anything, and may very well help your tree last longer.
Quantities for Sugar Water for Christmas TreesIngredients:
1 gallon hot water
2 C. light corn syrup
4 tsp. bleach
2-4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Epsom salts
Just mix all the ingredients together, allow to cool, and pour it right into the base for your Christmas tree (you can also use this blend to keep fresh cut flowers perky).
Note: Missing any of the ingredients? Read on below for some simple substitutions.
If you refrigerate this solution it has a shelf life of two weeks. At room temperature it lasts about 5 days, but if your tree is taking water you'll use that much up easily over that period of time.
Other Xmas Tree Water AdditivesAlternative Ingredients: If you don't have corn syrup you can still make this mix using refined sugar and making it into syrup with water. Some people also substitute a lemon soda (like Sprite or 7-Up) since these are often made with high fructose corn syrup.
Other additives seen in various recipes include borax, iron, copper (a penny in the water) and good old aspirin. Vinegar is also a common ingredient listed but because it can cause toxic vapors when mixed with Chlorine, it's not recommended.
Safety First! While this mixture isn't particularly toxic, it's not healthy, either. So it's best to keep it out of reach of kids and pets. Clearly mark the container of sugar water for the tree, keeping it covered and away from children. If you have pets, using sugar water for Christmas trees isn't a great idea unless they cannot access the water holder for the tree (cats and dogs alike have been known to lap up alternative water sources in the house).
If you have young children or pets and still would like to use this sugar water Christmas tree mixutre, you might want to invest in one of these Auto-Watering Christmas Tree Stands. A self-watering Christmas tree stand will water your Christmas tree without exposing your family to anything dangerous... and will keep you from having to crawl under the tree every few days to add water to the Christmas tree stand.
The Theory Behind Sugar Water for Christmas TreesThe theory behind using sugar water for Christmas trees ties directly into the way an evergreen makes chlorophyll. The corn syrup is supposed to act as tree food akin to sap. Epsom salt furnishes the tree with magnesium sulfate. People who use borax say that it helps get the sugar water into the tree more quickly. The use of bleach is an attempt to deter mold and mildew growth, which wouldn't be healthy for a home's air (especially if windows are closed for the cold winter season).
Other Tips for Keeping Fresh Cut Christmas Trees AliveThere are also lots of other things you can do to make your fresh Christmas tree last longer. Most of these can be used in conjunction with sugar water for Christmas trees to get the most possible life out of your tree.
Keep it Cold. If you buy your tree in advance... don't take it in yet! When you buy your fresh tree, keep it in the cold until just before you're ready to put it up. As long as it's outside in the cold, there is no need for water yet, as the cooler temperature helps keep the tree fresh.
Slice the Stump. When you're ready to bring the tree indoors, take a one inch slice off the bottom so that the tree will accept water more readily. This is necessary whether or not you make sugar water for Christmas trees. Why? Because while the tree is sitting outdoors resin starts filling the trunk, which blocks off the water supply-- at least partially, and in some cases completely.
ALWAYS Keep it Moist. After slicing off a bit of stump, immediately put your tree into the tree stand with fresh water. It's very important to keep the water above the base of the tree and keep it fresh. If the base dries out, you'll loose your tree's needles very quickly.
Let your tree go dry? As soon as the tree runs out of water, it'll have that much harder a time absorbing more water. If you accidentally let your tree run out of water, you'll need to slice off another inch or so of stump to allow the water to begin flowing freely again.
Choose the Right Lights. When choosing your decorations for your Christmas tree, be sure to choose lights and other decorations with little to no heat. Use cool lights on the tree (the less heat the tree receives, the longer it lasts and the safer it is in your home).
Keep Away from the Heat. Along the same lines as the tip above, your heating can also have an effect on your tree. Place the tree well away from fireplaces and heating vents (or close any open vents near the tree).
When combined with sugar syrup for Christmas trees, these simple actions will save you from cleaning up more pine needles than necessary throughout the Holiday season.
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