Save my Christmas tree
December 16, 2005 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Our Christmas tree has a drinking problem.

When we first got it, about two weeks ago, it was sucking up a good 3-5 inches of water (from the tree stand reservoir) a day. A few days ago I realized it's now only drinking about 1 inch of water a day. Will it make it to Christmas? Can anything be done? The tree is a Noble Fir.
posted by _sirmissalot_ to Grab Bag (16 answers total)
That sounds pretty normal to me; they stop taking in water so rapidly after awhile. At three weeks most trees are starting to drop a lot of needles, but aren't in too bad a shape if they were fresh at first and got regular water.

Did it ever go completely dry? If it did the bottom might have gotten plugged by this so that it doesn't draw water up as efficiently. The solution is to saw a half inch or so off of the bottom, but that may not be very practical for a tree which has already been decorated, especially if you have a deep stand. I heard once that distilled water works slightly better than regular water due to its lack of minerals and thus it is sucked in more strongly due to the ionic imbalance. That sounds like voodoo to me (or pseudo science) but who knows.
posted by caddis at 11:58 AM on December 16, 2005

It's dead, Jim. Ditto Cadis.
posted by mojohand at 12:19 PM on December 16, 2005

It never went completely dry. I'm just hoping it can hang on for 9 more days--at least the needles haven't turned brown yet.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:48 PM on December 16, 2005

Maybe sawing off an inch or two off the bottom might help it start drinking again.

You don't add anything to the water (like sugar), do you?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:57 PM on December 16, 2005

Also, the tree was somewhat dried out when you got it, unless you cut it yourself. It had a lot of catching up to do. Now that it's saturated, it doesn't need to take up as much water.

Plus, what everybody else said. It's also dying. But I'd expect it to last another week.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:28 PM on December 16, 2005

Drop an aspirin in there; it inhibits the needle drop reaction.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2005

I'm glad you posted this; ours is also drinking less, and I was starting to worry that I'd done something bad to it. Now I know it's just how trees are. (We cut it ourselves—first time I've done that. Ah, country living!)
posted by languagehat at 1:45 PM on December 16, 2005

If disassembling and cutting the bottom is not an option (I sure wouldn't do it) get a cordless drill and drill a few holes below the waterline. Same difference.
posted by fixedgear at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2005

Totally normal.
posted by Miko at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2005

Awesome post, I have nothing to add but it made me laugh. Good luck getting it through rehab before throwing it out on the street.
posted by Happydaz at 3:49 PM on December 16, 2005

Drop an aspirin in there; it inhibits the needle drop reaction.

Now that's the kind of magical answer I was looking for! *runs off to drug store*
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:14 PM on December 16, 2005

Don't put the aspirin in if you have pets. It can be toxic to them.
posted by donpardo at 6:12 PM on December 16, 2005

I grew up on a Christmas tree farm.

Your tree is fine, and this is normal behavior for a tree. They do drink less and less over time, until they stop all together. Until the drinking stops, the tree is fine.

I'd second a lot of what has already been written here: distilled water, asprin in the water, watering with warm water, try to check it twice a day.

If the bottom is plugged and the tree is fully decorated and you have a deep stand, you can also try drilling some very shallow holes in the trunk of the tree near the base. The tree will drink through these holes as well, although (of course) not as much. But this can help in a last ditch effort. (Be sure to have someone hold the tree while you drill it).
posted by anastasiav at 6:53 PM on December 16, 2005

Looks like your tree picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
posted by dhartung at 9:38 PM on December 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

We never give water to our trees and they suprisingly never suffer with needle drop!
posted by floanna at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2005

Follow-up for posterity: It is now January 7th and the tree hasn't turned brown or dropped many needles. It did stop drinking water soon after I posted this thread, but I guess it was hydrated enough to stay alive this long. And I didn't put aspirin in the water as I didn't want to kill my cats.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:20 PM on January 7, 2006

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