If you’ve shopped for a Christmas tree at Wolff’s, you might have come across their intriguing concoction and instructions for preserving your Christmas tree. I admit: I was pretty skeptical the first time I tried it out. Here’s how it works:

As soon as you return home with the tree, use a saw to make a fresh cut through the trunk’s base an inch from the bottom.  Submerge the trunk into a bucket of boiling water or boiling preserving mixture (recipe below).  If you do nothing else, do this!

It exposes a fresh surface and opens the tree’s pores so that the tree can easily absorb the water or preserving mixture.  Keep water or mixture level well above the base of the cut at all times. If the cut base dries out, the sap will harden and the tree will not take in any more water.

Preserving Mixture:

Outside the house, fill a 2-gallon pail with:

  • Six quarts of boiling water.


  • One pint clear Karo syrup (or 2 cups sugar dissolved in warm water)
  • 2 ounces of liquid chlorine bleach
  • 1/2 teaspoon of borax
  • A pinch of Epsom salt. 

Using a preservative solution helps because fresh-cut trees absorb corn syrup or sugar and use it as an energy source, instead of using and converting stored sugars; therefore they have more energy for staying fresh. (The bottled preservative will also accomplish this.)

A fresh tree may soak up a quart or more of water per day. Avoid the tiny stands that hold only a cup or two of water. Refill the stand with solution or water frequently so that it is always full enough to cover the base of the trunk.

Avoid standing the tree in front of large glass surfaces, by heating vents or fireplaces that expose it to the sun and heat, leading to rapid moisture loss. Expect a fresh tree to use one-half to two gallons of water the first day it’s brought inside. A fresh tree will continue to use water, but at a reduced rate throughout the holiday season.

Follow this procedure and your tree will stay fresh, green and fragrant throughout the holiday season.

I tried this last year and to my surprise the tree lasted from Black Friday all the way through the holidays and then outside on our deck for another 3 months! Every year my husband and I debate how long we should keep our tree up for: He likes to keep it up well into the winter, and I like to have my living room back after the holidays. In our new home we have a big sliding door from our living room to our outside deck, so it was perfect to have the tree just outside the house but still visible from the living room. Sometime in March we decided it was time for the tree to go, although it was still as green as ever! (It did lose quite a few needles though). My only regret with keeping the tree up as long as we did was that we discovered that a poor ambitious bird had begun to build its nest among the branches of the tree!

So if you’re up for a little extra work up-front, you might get to keep your tree for up to four months like we did! Shopping for a tree at Wolff’s is a really magical experience, too, with their rows of beautiful trees in a host of sizes and varieties, including Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir and Concolor Fir. Also, you can pick up a FREE cup of hot mulled apple cider while you’re shopping for your tree. Get in the holiday spirit today by browsing through the Wolff’s Christmas tree selection with a cup of delicious hot apple cider in hand!