How to Choose and Care for Your Tree 
Regardless of the type of tree you select, care is necessary to keep it safe and looking its best.

Lighting Basics and Safety

  • Use lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights. This will reduce the drying of the tree.
  • Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits.
  • Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

Cut Trees Care and Disposal

Cut trees are the most commonly available tree in the Oklahoma market.  The consider the following whether you cut your own tree or purchase a pre-cut tree.

  • Choose the appropriate sized stand for your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of the wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.The stand should have a water reservoir with at least a half-gallon capacity.
  • Place the tree in water as soon as possible. If the time between cutting your tree down and its installation in a stand is over 3 or 4 hours, it may be helpful to make a fresh cut removing about a 1/2 inch thick disk from the base of the trunk. The cut should be straight with no angle or v-groove. A straight cut is the best for holding your tree securely in the stand and maximizes the amount of water absorption.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, be sure the base of the trunk is clean. Take care not to bruise the cut surface during transport or handling.
  • Keep your tree away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will also slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.  Fresh trees may use up to a gallon a day.
  • Check the water level in the stand regularly (at least once a day). If the base of the tree goes dry and seals itself, it will not adequately absorb water and will dry out quickly. In some stands, the base of the tree may be slightly raised. Be sure to check that the water level remains above the base of the trunk.
  • Monitor the tree for freshness. If the tree is dry and brittle, consider removing it from the house soon.

After the holidays, use the tree as backyard habitat by decorating it with peanut butter and bird seed pine cones. Shred and compost it for the garden or recycle it in your community. These projects extend the usefulness of your tree and conserve landfill space.

Living Tree Care

If you are considering a living Christmas tree to plant outdoors after the holidays, select a high quality tree from your local nursery.

  • Gradually introduce your living tree from outside to inside over three or four days via the garage or enclosed porch. A tree that is dormant and exposed to immediate warmth will start to grow. You want to avoid any quick resumption of growth.
  • While the tree is introduced into the house via porch or garage, check for critters and insect egg masses as the tree acclimatizes.
  • Visit your nearest lawn and garden supply store. Purchase a spray with an antidessicant or antiwilt product to minimize needle loss (do this during the introduction phase). This particular product will not only reduce needle loss, it will contain the loss of valuable moisture lost to a climate controlled home.
  • If possible, locate your tree in the coolest part of the room and away from heating ducts. This will work with the antiwilt product to keep the tree moist and prevent the loss of valuable moisture.
  • Place the tree in a large galvanized tub including root ball. This tub stabilizes the tree and ball (or pot) and confines water and needles into a more manageable and cleanable space.
  • Stabilize the tree in the tub in a straight and vertical position using rocks or bricks. Water only in the tree's container if not a balled-in-burlap tree.
  • If balled-in-burlap, fill empty space around and on top of the ball with mulch to retain as much moisture as possible. Then water your tree as often as necessary to moisten the roots but not soggy.
  • Leave inside no longer than 7-10 days (some experts suggest only 4 days). Never add nutrients or fertilizers as that may initiate growth which you don't want to occur in a dormant tree.
  • Carefully introduce tree back outside using the reverse procedure and plant.