Here are a few tips to help keep your tree fresh and safe, and dispose of your tree after the holiday season.

Tree Care

A few simple care tips will enhance the enjoyment of your Christmas tree and keep it fresh and fragrant throughout the holiday season.

  • Care for the tree as carefully as you would care for cut flowers. Let the tree remain outdoors or on a cool porch until you are ready to decorate. An area that provides protection from the wind will help the tree retain its moisture. If possible, bring the tree to a partially heated area (the basement or porch) the night before decorating. Make a fresh, straight cut across the trunk 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the original cut and place the trunk end immediately into fresh water. This opens the stem so it can take up water. If you allow the water level to drop below the trunk, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower, and a new cut will be necessary. As long as the tree keeps drawing water, it will remain fresh.
  • Trees are thirsty! They may drink up to two gallons of water per day. Be sure to check the water level daily and supply fresh water as needed.

Holiday Safety

  • Be sure the tree is well-supported in a water holding stand and is away from fireplaces, radiators, TV sets and other sources of heat. There elements can prematurely dry your tree.
  • Avoid using combustible decorations. Check all electrical lights and connections. Do not use lights with worn or frayed cords and NEVER use lighted candles. Don’t overload electrical circuits. Lights should be off when the house is unattended and when you retire each evening.


After the holiday season, your real tree can be easily disposed of in two ways:

  • Community Recycling Program: Many communities offer drop off locations in local parks. These trees are mulched and used as ground cover and on walkways or paths. Many communities allow their residents to pickup mulch for personal use while the supply lasts. Contact your local city hall or newspaper office. Wreaths and decorative roping can be disposed of in your trash. DO NOT take them to the drop sites.
  • Local Waste Hauler: Local waste haulers may offer curbside pick-up dates for real trees. These trees are taken to compost sites. Contact your current waste hauler for details.

Wildlife Cover

Your tree can be used to help fish and wildlife in a variety of ways.

  • Ponds: Trees can be used as artificial fish attractors in ponds. Sinking cut trees into ponds causes fish to concentrate in these areas, which improves fishing. Some fish hide in the branches to escape predators, others feed on snails and aquatic insects found on the structures, and most fish seek the shaded areas during hot and sunny days. Trees commonly are wired to cement blocks and sunk in 6 to 10 feet of water. Make sure that all decorations have been removed from the tree.

Wildlife: Trees can be used as wildlife cover in fields, forests and other natural settings. Birds, rabbits and other small animals can use them as shelter during the winter months, and the trees will eventually decay as any other tree that fell in the area.