A Guide to Christmas Tree Care

A Guide to Christmas Tree Care

by Zoey Zupin, Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassador

In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, we see Clark Griswold almost wreck the family car and trek his begrudged family to find the prefect Christmas tree, that ends up being way too big. While picking a Christmas tree is a tad easier than it was for the Griswolds, it is still fun, and memories are made from the journey to find the best one to hanging up the ornaments. Once you are home, there are a few necessities to keeping your perfect Christmas tree in tip-top shape.


Caring for your Christmas tree can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Fresh Tree
  2. Fresh Cut
  3. Fresh Water




When picking out your Christmas tree, you can check the freshness of the tree by grasping a branch and drawing your hand down gentle. If a few needles fall off, the tree is fresh. If quite a few needles come away, you may want to explore other tree options.

Once you bring home your tree, make a 1-inch cut on the base of the trunk. This will help the tree to take up water.

Cutting a Christmas tree trunk

Photo by Bert Cregg, MSU Extension.

Display the tree in a stand with a large bowl that can hold water and is not located near heat sources such as fireplaces, heat vents, etc. Give the tree water immediately once you put it up and check the water level daily. Plain water is the best for your tree, adding anything to water is not needed. Make sure the water level never goes below the base of the trunk.

Michigan ranks third in the nation for Christmas tree production with 2 million Christmas trees. The industry has a value of more than $40 million, supporting Michigan’s economy. Michigan producers grow nine different varieties of Christmas trees – leaving you with plenty of options! Producers are also sustainable as they plant three new trees for every tree that is cut down, helping to keep Christmas trees around for generations to come!

To learn about which Christmas tree variety suits your needs best, Michigan State University Extension has a guide available for your use. To find U-cut Christmas tree Farms in your area, go to Michigan Christmas Tree Association Choose & Cut Farms Map. They also have a map for precut Christmas trees.

Zoey Zupin


Zoey Zupin, from Kentwood, Michigan, is one of our Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassadors. She is currently a student at Michigan State University studying Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education.