General gardening topics

How long do real Christmas trees last? Follow my guide to keep it fresh for longer

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How long do real Christmas trees last?

Generally, real Christmas trees will last for 4-6 weeks indoors. Choosing the right type of tree (this is important), how you prepare for and care for your tree also affects how long it will last.

In short, if you want it to last as long as possible you should:

  • Choose a healthy tree with shiny green needles and one that does not drop many needles when you drop the trunk on the floor.
  • Cut the end of the trunk off, and then again before placing it into a tree stand that holds water and keep the water topped up.
  • Keep it in a cool room away from any heat sources.
  • Only bring indoors one week before christmas, store it in a cool unheated garage or outdoors until then.

With millions of excited Christmas tree shoppers set to head out to buy a freshly cut Christmas tree over the next couple of weeks from local garden centres and nurseries as well as Christmas tree farms (this is my favourite way of buying one). You don’t get much fresher than choosing your own tree and cutting it down there and then. The question many find themselves asking is ‘How long does a Christmas tree last in my home?’

More importantly, how do you set your tree up for success so that it is still going to look as fresh on Christmas Day as the day you put first put it up?

Well, it starts with choosing the right type of tree, then how it’s stored, as well as how it is prepared so that it can take up water. The stand you choose is also important as you need to ensure the tree has plenty of water to keep it looking fresh, which can be topped up as and when needed.

Nordman fir christmas tree ready to be cut down

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know, from choosing the right type of tree, do you go for the cheaper Spruce? Do you spend a little more for the premium Nordman Fir that is known for its low drop properties? Or do you go for the Fraser Fir with its blue-tinted needles and slimline shape ideal for smaller corners?

I even look at potted and pot grown trees (this is important too) for those who want to plant it out after Christmas and use it the following year, which is more environmentally friendly.

You can learn how to plant a Christmas tree in my guide here and I have a specific guide on how to grow Christmas trees in pots here.

Nordmann Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • A real easy-care Christmas tree
  • Non needle drop, family friendly
  • The most popular tree sold, this tree has soft dark green needles. It is well known for it's excellent needle holding and easy handling
  • Traditional cut tree shape
  • Will last until Christmas when cared for
Fraser Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • REAL LIVE TREE FOR CHRISTMAS - Add a traditional feel to your home this Christmas with one of our excellent freshly cut live trees
  • PREMIUM QUALITY, FRESH FROM THE FARM - Our Christmas trees are grown in the UK, ensuring the highest growing standards, and cared for year round by our expert team
  • GREAT SHAPE & FRAGRANCE - The Fraser Fir owes much of it's popularity to it's strong base, thick branches and the citrusy-sweet scent.
  • COMPLETE YOUR TREE WITH A STAND - Tree stands are vitally important for keeping your tree fresh and healthy. Pop your tree in one of these, fill it with water and you're ready to get on with decorating
  • CARE GUIDE SUPPLIED WITH EVERY TREE - Keep your tree in top condition with our free step-by-step care guide. This gives tips on prepping, watering and decorating your tree.

Nothing else matters if you don’t choose a good stand that can hold water. Below is my top recommended Christmas tree stand, which not only holds ample amounts of water but also takes the stress out of standing your tree upright so that it is ready to decorate.


Best Christmas Tree Stand To Keep Your Tree Looking Fresh

Krinner Vario Christmas Tree Stand supporting tree

Krinner Christmas Tree Stand

A healthy long-lasting tree starts with a stand that holds plenty of water and is super easy to set the tree up in.

  • It ensures a consistent water supply to the tree, keeping your tree fresher until the New Year.
  • The water indicator ensures you know when you need to refill the large water reservoir. Letting it drop too much is the number one reason trees fail because the pores become blocked.
  • The foot pump, combined with a unique clamping device guarantees equal claw pressure around the trunk and makes standing it up stress free.
  • Different sizes available to take a range of tree sizes.
  • Put your tree up in minutes, no more tightening screws and bolts.

Buy Krinner Christmas Tree Stand on Amazon


How to keep a freshly cut Christmas tree fresher for longer and choosing the perfect tree

A quick summary on how to keep your Christmas tree looking fresher for longer

  • Choose a low needle drop type such as Nordman Fir, Fraser Fir or Scotts Pine.
  • Place it in cool room and avoid putting it next to radiators or fires (This is incredibly important).
  • Cut 4-6 cm off the bottom of the tree just before placing in the stand (Don’t skip this step).
  • Keep the stand filled with water.
  • If you follow these steps you should be able to keep your tree looking fresh for the whole of the Christmas period, even if you put your Christmas tree up 4 weeks before Christmas.
How long do real christmas trees last - indoors they will last 4-6 weeks if cared for correctly.
Traditional pine Christmas tree, remove the log base and cut new base before putting it into a Christmas tree stand

Some cut Christmas trees come on blocks, as pictured above, we highly recommend taking them off the block and putting them into a Christmas tree stand that holds water. Remember to cut 2 inches off the base of the tree to allow it to take up water. More on this further down.

When should you buy your Christmas tree?

A Christmas tree that is correctly cared for and well-chosen should easily last 4 to 6 weeks in your home. However, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association and I (from my own personal experiences), recommend that you don’t put your tree up any earlier than the 1st of December. This means you can get your tree up early and still have it looking fantastic on Christmas Day.

How fresh are freshly cut Christmas trees from garden centres?

What most people don’t realise is that unless you are lucky enough to get your Christmas tree from a local Christmas tree farm, where you can choose your own Christmas tree and then have it freshly cut in front of you, most of the Christmas trees in your local garden centres and nurseries are not really as freshly cut as you may think.

Most Christmas trees are in fact cut around 3-6 weeks before Christmas! How else do you think they manage to cut and transport millions of trees within a few days?! After all, most garden centres get their trees in on the last week of November. The good news is that most Christmas trees will look fresh for months if stored outside in cold conditions, out of the wind.

How to choose a healthy Christmas tree

It all starts with choosing a healthy tree, get this wrong and nothing else matters. I strongly recommend choosing a Christmas tree with bright green needles and one that feels heavy as this usually means it has high water content and is fresh. Avoid any trees that have dull and dry needles. Give the tree a little shake and if needles fall off look at another tree and move on. It’s okay for a few brown needles to fall off but the green ones shouldn’t.

Which type of Christmas tree is better? (Non-drop)

Non drop Nordman fir christmas tree being wrapped to take home

Generally, the more you pay for a Christmas tree the better it is in regards to not dropping its needles. In general, Norway Spruce are the cheapest type of christmas tree compared to other types such as the Nordman Firs, Fraser Firs and the Scottish Pines.

Avoid Spruce

Spruce are easily identified as they have a conical and very good Christmas tree shape, very sharp needles to the touch as well as are dark green in colour. The problem is that Spruce don’t do well at all in modern central heated homes, even when they are placed in water, so we recommend avoiding this type inside the home.

If you want a tree you keep outside in the garden or will be placed somewhere cool indoors where it’s not heated, then these make fantastic Christmas trees and will last months.

However, if you have them indoors and follow every trick in the book to keep them from losing their needles, they nearly always still will, regardless of what some garden centres might try and tell you.

The only other time I would advise you to have a Spruce indoors, is if you are very traditional and only have your tree up for a few days at Christmas.

The best type of christms trees for indoors

There are a few types of Christmas trees that have proven ideal for inside the home as they have low needle drop characteristics if cared for correctly. These include the following trees:

Nordman Fir Christmas Trees

Nordman Fir has dark green foliage, a good conical shape and tend to be wide at the bottom of the tree, making it sometimes difficult to find a tree that will fit into a smaller space. However, they are the number one favourite Christmas tree and make excellent indoor Christmas trees in modern homes.

Nordmann Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • A real easy-care Christmas tree
  • Non needle drop, family friendly
  • The most popular tree sold, this tree has soft dark green needles. It is well known for it's excellent needle holding and easy handling
  • Traditional cut tree shape
  • Will last until Christmas when cared for
Nordmann Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • PREMIUM QUALITY, FRESH FROM THE FARM - GardenersDream Christams Trees are British grown and cared for year-round by our expert team
  • REAL LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE - Can be placed outside in the garden after Christmas and can be used repeatedly, eliminating the need to keep buying new trees.
  • NO MESS NEEDLES - Unlike other varieties, Nordmann's are excellent at retaining their foliage, so that means less time cleaning up after them.
  • POT GROWN, EASY TO CARE FOR AND MAINTAIN - With regular watering and occasional feeding, these trees will last a long time. Little pruning is required, just the ocassional trim to keep it's shape
  • CARE GUIDE SUPPLIED WITH EVERY ORDER - Keep your tree in top condition with our free step-by-step care guide. This gives tips on prepping, watering and decorating your tree.

Fraser Fir Christmas Tree

Fraser Firs have brilliant needle retention and are distinctive by their Blue/green foliage. With a slimmer build, they are ideal for narrow spaces as they are not as wide at the base as Nordman Firs. Fraser Firs are probably the second most popular of all the non-drop trees and often very slim so ideal for smaller spaces.

Fraser Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • REAL LIVE TREE FOR CHRISTMAS - Add a traditional feel to your home this Christmas with one of our excellent freshly cut live trees
  • PREMIUM QUALITY, FRESH FROM THE FARM - Our Christmas trees are grown in the UK, ensuring the highest growing standards, and cared for year round by our expert team
  • GREAT SHAPE & FRAGRANCE - The Fraser Fir owes much of it's popularity to it's strong base, thick branches and the citrusy-sweet scent.
  • COMPLETE YOUR TREE WITH A STAND - Tree stands are vitally important for keeping your tree fresh and healthy. Pop your tree in one of these, fill it with water and you're ready to get on with decorating
  • CARE GUIDE SUPPLIED WITH EVERY TREE - Keep your tree in top condition with our free step-by-step care guide. This gives tips on prepping, watering and decorating your tree.
Fraser Fir Pot Grown Christmas Tree - Choice of sizes
  • PREMIUM QUALITY, FRESH FROM THE FARM - GardenersDream Christmas Trees are British grown and cared for year-round by our expert team
  • REAL LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE - Can be placed outside in the garden after Christmas and can be used repeatedly, eliminating the need to keep buying new trees.
  • GREAT SHAPE & FRAGRANCE - The Fraser Fir owes much of it's popularity to it's strong base, thick branches and the citrusy-sweet scent given off by the tree
  • POT GROWN, EASY TO CARE FOR AND MAINTAIN - With regular watering and occasional feeding, these trees will last a long time. Little pruning is required, just the ocassional trim to keep it's shape
  • CARE GUIDE SUPPLIED WITH EVERY ORDER - Keep your tree in top condition with our free step-by-step care guide. This gives tips on prepping, watering and decorating your tree.

Scotts Pine

Scotts Pine have long green needles, generally wider and slightly cheaper than Nordman Firs and Fraser Firs for the same height. However, they are also excellent trees for indoors as they don’t drop many needles either. They are less dense and some people prefer them as there is plenty of space for hanging decorations.

Lodgepole Pine

Lodgepole Pines have long needles with lots of space between each row of branches so are also excellent for hanging decorations if you like trees with plenty of space between the branches.

How to store real Christmas trees before taking them indoors

How to store a christmas tree before taking it indoors for Christmas

This part is important because if you dry the tree out before it’s even put up indoors, you will drastically reduce how long it will retain its needles for before it has even been decorated.

Ideally, you should store your tree outside in a bucket of water, out of the wind until you are going to put the tree up. Never store undercover or leave it somewhere where it is exposed to the wind as this will dry the tree out very quickly.

Only put the Christmas tree inside a garage or shed (or similar) to dry it out if it is wet, a few hours before you plan on putting the tree up.

Choosing the perfect location, why a stand is super important for your tree and what not to do

Choosing a christmas tree stand which holds water

It is very important to use a stand that holds water as this allows the tree to take up water in the same way cut flowers do. This will keep the tree looking fresh and allow it to hydrate and hold its needles. Christmas trees lose their needles when they lose water content in the branches.

I have reviewed the ‘Krinner Christmas Tree stand’ in depth, which you can read here.

Choose the right location away from heat sources

Think about the location of the tree, although you may not want the room to be cold, try to avoid keeping the room too warm as this will dry the tree out and affect its ability to hold its needles.

Do not put the tree next to fireplaces or radiators (maybe turning the radiator off, if possible, or at least turn it down to low, if you have no choice but to place your tree next to one). This is the worst position for a tree and will drastically how long it will look fresh even if placed in water. Also, think about where the plug sockets are for the lights on the tree.

How to prepare a tree before putting it into a stand

Make sure the stand is in position and filled with water. Next, you need to re-cut 2 inches off the bottom of the tree with a pruning saw, then do it again, and then place it straight into the stand filled with water.

This will make sure that the tree is able to take up water. It is important to note that you do not cut and then leave for any amount of time because the tree’s vascular system will become blocked and it will need cutting again.

When Christmas trees are cut, the vascular system becomes blocked and this stops the tree from taking up water. By cutting it again, it unblocks the pores and allows the tree to take up water (like cut flowers) and enable it to hold its needles.

Keep the stand filled with water

Keeping the stand filled with water is equally as important, do not allow the tree to go without water. Christmas trees take up lots of water and the stand will probably need filling daily. If the stand runs out of water and is left for too long the tree vascular system will become blocked and it will not take up water again.


Think about purchasing a live Christmas tree with roots

Christmas tree with roots which can be planted into a bigger pot or planted outdoors

Pot grown and potted Christmas trees, are trees that still have roots are ideal for someone who wants to have a Christmas tree indoors for the Christmas holiday and then either plant it into a large pot or plant it somewhere in the garden after Christmas. If you keep the tree in a pot you can then use it for many years until it outgrows the pot or grows too big to fit in the house, which is generally around 6ft in height.

The one issue with potted and pot grown Christmas trees is that they are usually no bigger than 4ft (120cm) tall when you first buy them. You can help make them look taller by placing them on a table to give the appearance of a larger tree if this works for you.

If you plan on keeping your Christmas tree, then we strongly recommend buying a pot grown tree. These have been grown in a pot, unlike potted trees that are dug up and then placed in a pot. Pot grown trees have a far better chance of surviving than potted trees as their root system is not disturbed.

We only recommend keeping a pot grown Christmas tree inside the home for up to 2 weeks and that they are gradually introduced to the outside slowly, bringing it in during the night for a few days before leaving it outside permanently. The shock of cold weather can damage them if they have been inside a warm home for a few weeks.

You can also read my full guide on growing Christmas trees in pots in this guide.


 

Last update on 2021-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

2 Comments

  1. Laura moran

    Hiya my son got a Christmas tree from his school trip and it’s a baby tree and we been watering it and now the needles have fall off will the needles grow back

  2. John

    Hi they should do just be careful you don’t over water it as this can cause the needles to drop as can the temperature changes if you put the tree outside if it has been kept inside.

    Hope this helps

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