Christmas Tree Preservative Recipe

So now that you have your beautiful Christmas tree, you want it to last as long as possible, what should you do?  In addition to using Christmas tree preservative, I’ll explain all the things you need to do to be as successful as possible with your Christmas tree.  Essentially, you want to keep the base of the tree immersed in Christmas tree preservative and never expose it to air.  In this article, I’ll give you a homemade Christmas tree preservative recipe that is also known as Christmas tree food recipe.

Christmas Tree Preservative recipe – Why?

There is nothing magical about the recipe, in fact, I’ll explain what each of the ingredients does and why it is used within the recipe.   Why all the fuss?  Well, take a look at the following video by the NIST will show you the difference in lighting and in burning of a tree that is maintained (moist) and one that is not (dry).  Additionally, the tree will shed fewer needles and lose them at a much slower rate if the Christmas tree is kept moist and well maintained with a good Christmas tree preservative, even a homemade one.  This will help prolong the useful life of your cut Christmas tree, and allow you to maximize your enjoyment of your investment.  Nothing can make it last forever.  This isn’t the fountain of youth.  ;-)Christmas Tree preservative recipe

Christmas Tree Preservative recipe – tree tips

The homemade Christmas tree preservative recipe is inexpensive.  If you have to go out and buy all the ingredients you could buy all the ingredients for less than $10.  The actual amounts of the ingredients you use for this recipe will be in the vicinity of 20 to 25 cents.  These are common everyday items and most households will have all of them on hand.

First some general things to remember and do in preparing your tree:

  • Once you get the tree home, you should cut off at least a ½” (1cm) piece of the trunk and then immediately put the tree in a pail of water.  The fresh-cut surface should be creamy white in color; not yellow and certainly not brown. Just like flowers, once the cut is made, air is drawn into the trees circulation system.  If a sufficient amount of air is drawn into the tree, then the tree becomes unable to move the water up to the needles (leaves).  Unlike flowers, because the tree is much larger than the flower you have a little more time to get the fresh cut underwater.  Flowers need to be done immediately.  The tree can tolerate a little time.  You should wash the tree using a shower setting on your hose.
  • Make sure the tree stand reservoir you are putting the tree in is clean and that the bottom of the tree will be kept off of the bottom.  (my tree stand has a couple of prongs that do that as well as help to minimize the movement of the bottom of the tree from side to side)
  • Do NOT drill a hole into the bottom of the tree or through the trunk.  Would you want a hole drilled in your leg?
  • Do NOT smash the edges of the tree with a hammer.  This will NOT improve the water uptake, in fact, will make it worse as you smash shut the capillaries or break them open and then expose them to air.
  • Make sure the bottom of the tree is not allowed to become uncovered.  Check the reservoir at least every 12 hours for the first several days so that you can gauge how quickly and how much it is drinking.

To make the Christmas Tree preservative you will need the following ingredients:

  • Water
  • Sugar – This is a food that is similar to what the tree produces on its’ own using photosynthesis.
  • Bleach – is an excellent biocide, meaning it will kill the germs, bacteria fungus etc.  (and anything else) that tries to live in the water.  Use plain bleach, not scented, not “ultra” or any other type that has anything other than Sodium Hypochlorite in it.  Did you know that, in an emergency, you can use bleach to treat water for drinking?  Let me know if you want to know how I can post that info too.
  • Vinegar – helps to acidify the water which improves the trees ability to bring in the food.  Bleach is basic, the acid(acetic) in the vinegar counteracts that.

Christmas tree preservative recipe.
(Homemade Christmas tree preservative)

This recipe is for a concentrated solution that will ultimately make 5 liters (~1.25 gallons) if you have a place to store the full 5 liters, feel free to make the batch that size as opposed to making the concentrate.

In order:

  1. Heat ~250 ml (~1 cup) of water to about 140F (~60C) [do you like how I’m mixing SI and English units all over the place?] in the hot water dissolve 50g (5 TBL) of white granulated sugar.  If you are going to make the full 5liters of solution rather than the concentrate you shouldn’t need to heat the water.
  2. To the solution add 25ml (1TBL + 2tsp) of vinegar.  You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  If you use apple cider vinegar the water will have a slight brown tint until you add the bleach.
  3. To the solution add 7.5ml (1.5 tsp) of chlorine bleach.  Mix well.  If you used the apple cider variety of vinegar, the brown tint will be gone and the solution should be clear.  Add additional water to bring the total volume of concentrate to 500ml.  If you’re making the solution outright, add enough water to make the total quantity 5 liters. NOTE: this recipe assumes that your using standard bleach is which will be somewhere around 5 to 6% active. If you’ve bought a discount brand that is less than this you’ll need to add proportionally more bleach.

I chose the 500ml quantity since that’s the amount that a standard water bottle holds and that’s what I prepare my concentrate in.

That’s it!  To use the solution mix 1 part concentrate with 9 parts of cool water.  Say you want 1 liter of solution put 100ml in a 1 liter container.  Fill to the 1 liter line with water.  If you want any other quantity, simply put in 1 measure of concentrate and put in 9 measures of water.  If you have a half gallon container (64 oz) put in 3/4 cup (6 oz) of homemade Christmas tree preservative concentrate and then fill it up the rest of the way with water.

I hope you find this Christmas tree preservative recipe useful and beneficial.  Please let me know how it worked for you.

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