christmas tree in a stand
Photo: Steve Wisbauer/JupiterImages
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Up She Goes

Now you'll have to fit the tree into the stand. Most stands have small prongs in the bottom to hold the center of the tree. After the trunk has been cut you may have to remove a few bottom limbs so that you can make contact with those prongs and the bottom of the trunk rests on the bottom of the tree stand—if not, the tree could swing side to side. While the tree is still wrapped in mesh, place it on its side and use a rubber mallet to drive the stand's prongs securely onto the trunk before tightening up the thumbscrews that hold the tree in the stand. Before tilting the tree vertical, set down some newspaper or an old rug under where the stand will be to catch any spilled water.

Drink up
Once the tree is upright, add clean water—a lot of it—as soon as possible. "People have to understand the first couple of days the tree is going to suck up at least a gallon of water," Roger says. The actual amount a tree can consume varies, so be vigilant the first two days, refilling when the stand gets low until the levels stay steady. Never let the water level drop beyond the cut end or you run the risk of pitch forming, which will seal off the tree's ability to absorb water. Roger also doesn't see the need for any additives, like aspirin or plant food, as long as the water is clean and fresh.
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