Christmas tree drying out? 5 pro tips to save it

If you want your Christmas tree to look its best this year, follow these tips

christmas trees
(Image credit: Future)

As the festive season approaches, many of us look forward to decorating our homes with a beautiful Christmas tree, which normally takes center stage in our holiday decorations. From the moment you bring your Christmas tree home, keeping the tree fresh and preventing it from dehydrating or overheating is crucial to maintaining its beauty throughout the season.

Saving your tree from drying out is one of the most important parts of overall Christmas tree care. While knowing how to water a Christmas tree is important there are many other measures you can implement to keep it from dehydrating.

Here are five essential recommendations to prevent your Christmas tree from dehydrating or overheating and keep those needles green and upright for as long as possible.

How to prevent your Christmas tree from drying out

To ensure that your tree remains vibrant throughout the holiday season, our experts have compiled a list of tips for you to try at home. 

1. Give it a new location

christmas trees

(Image credit: Future)

One key to preventing your Christmas tree from dehydrating is to choose the right location. While a Christmas tree near a fireplace or window might seem aesthetically pleasing, such placements can be detrimental to the tree's health.

According to Mike Lansing, co-founder and managing director of Planters Digest, direct heat sources or sunlight can cause the tree to dry out rapidly. Position your tree in a cooler spot, away from direct sunlight, heaters, and other heat sources. Opt for a cooler, shaded area to ensure your tree stays fresher for longer.

Heat sources can quickly dry out the tree, turning it into a potential fire hazard. Even a well-watered tree can become dangerous when exposed to excessive heat. Make sure the tree is situated in a location that's safe and away from direct heat, ensuring not only the tree's longevity but also the safety of your home and loved ones during the holiday season.

Mike Lansing
Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing is a certified garden designer, who turned a passion for plants into a thriving business. With over 10 years in the corporate world, he made a career shift to pursue gardening, earning a Certificate in Garden Design from George Brown College.

2. Water it properly

After finding an appropriate position, the next step is understanding the correct watering technique. Dry trees are more prone to overheating and pose a fire hazard, so keeping them hydrated is essential for safety and longevity.

The first time you water your freshly cut Christmas tree, Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible suggests using boiling water instead of cold. ‘Using hot water on your Christmas tree will help liquefy any sap that has formed and hardened on the trunk since it was cut,’ Zahid says. ‘You only have to use hot water once and it will release a wonderful fragrance.’ After the first water, continue with fresh cold water. This technique also helps if you accidentally pick a bad-smelling Christmas tree and want to fix it.

Maintaining an adequate water supply is crucial so using a tree stand with a water reservoir, like this one from Amazon, can help. Regularly check and top up the water level daily, as Christmas trees can drink a surprising amount, especially in the first few days after setup.

You should spray your tree with room-temperature water at least once a day but only when the Christmas lights are off and unplugged. Spraying your tree daily will reduce the dryness, prevent excessive amounts of needles from falling off, and make the tree more fire-resistant.

Zahid Adnan
Zahid Adnan

Zahid is a renowned figure in the gardening industry, with extensive experience and hard-earned skills in horticulture. He is the Founder and Editor of 

3. Increase the humidity level

Aside from watering, another method to prevent your Christmas tree from dehydrating is to use a humidifier. Placing a humidifier in the room where the tree is located can help maintain an optimal moisture level in the air around the tree, this will keep the air humid and provide extra freshness. 

We’ve explored a range of humidifiers on the market and we like this HuPro Air Ultrasonic Humidifier from Amazon. While being able to fully rotate 360-degree allowing for maximum coverage, it operates at a very low noise frequency and is practically silent. This product also has a timer option which allows you to set it for up to 12 hours and then it automatically turns itself off to save energy.  

4. Rethink your ornaments

christmas trees

(Image credit: Future)

The type of ornaments and lights you use can also impact your tree's hydration. Try to limit the use of lights since this can help tremendously. Remember that lights produce heat, and the more heat, the faster your tree loses moisture. 

‘It's essential to be cautious with the duration your tree lights remain on,’ says Carl Anderson from Sweet New Earth. ‘Extended periods can lead to overheating, especially with non-LED lights. To ensure safety and prevent dehydration, turn off the tree lights when not in use or when you're away from home.’

This doesn't mean you have to skip them entirely – try using LED Christmas tree lights from Amazon, as they reduce the risk of overheating and minimize stress on the branches.

Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson

Sweet New Earth is an online platform which provides an array of information about everything outdoors including; tree care, gardening and irrigation. 

5. Use tree preservatives

christmas trees

(Image credit: Future)

‘If you want your Christmas tree to look its best for as long as possible, it's a good idea to use tree preservatives,’ says gardener and owner of Simplify Gardening Tony O’Neill. ‘Just like flowers in a vase, Christmas trees benefit from additives that help prolong their lifespan. 

Mix water with a commercial tree preservative, such as the Rocky Mountain tree preserver from Amazon. Alternatively, you can add homemade solutions like sugar, aspirin, or lemon-lime soda. These additives can nourish the tree and enhance its ability to retain water, keeping it fresh and hydrated throughout the holiday season.

The best-looking Christmas tree is one that has been preserved with the proper nutrients and has had its needle loss minimized.

Tony O'Neill
Tony O’Neill

Tony O'Neill is an accomplished gardening expert, author, and educator. With a passion for simplifying gardening practices, he has inspired a wide audience through his popular YouTube channel and website Tony's expertise empowers individuals to cultivate thriving gardens and connect with nature. 


Is it okay to leave your Christmas tree outside?

Once you've got it home, leave your Christmas tree outside in a sheltered area, preferably standing in water for a day or two. This will allow the Christmas to acclimatize to being cut before being indoors.

There are many measures you can put in place to prevent your Christmas tree from drying out. Investing in a tree moisture meter from Amazon can provide you with accurate readings of your tree's hydration levels. These handheld devices can be inserted into the trunk, giving you an instant measurement of the moisture content.

By regularly monitoring the moisture levels, you can take appropriate action to ensure your tree stays adequately hydrated, avoiding both dehydration and overhydration, ensuring your Christmas tree stays as fresh as the day you brought it home, bringing joy and festive spirit to your space throughout the season.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.