How Long Will a Christmas Tree Last Without Water? (Answered)

A Christmas tree will live for less than a day without water. After 6 to 8 hours, your Christmas tree will begin to die without water. We all know that a Christmas tree needs water to stay healthy and looking its best.

But how long can a Christmas tree go without water? The answer may surprise you. While it is possible for a tree to survive for a short period of time without water, it will eventually start to dry out and die.

In this article, we will discuss how long a Christmas tree will last without water and also look at how to keep your Christmas tree fresh for a longer time.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Christmas tree needs water to last through the holidays. Without water, it will only live up to 8 hours.
  • To keep your Christmas tree fresh the longest, all it needs is fresh water. Nothing needs to be added, but there are a number of other things you can do to help your tree live longer.
  • The Fraser Fir is the species of Christmas tree that will stay freshest the longest. They also fill your home with the smell of Christmas.

How Long Will A Christmas Tree Last Without Water?

Leyland Cypress Christmas tree farm
Leyland Cypress Christmas tree farm | image by Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

A Christmas tree can only last about 6 to 8 hours without water. Then, it will dry out and die, but there are ways to keep your Christmas tree alive longer.

What Happens If You Don’t Water Your Christmas Tree?

Christmas trees, when in the ground, absorb water through their root systems, like all trees. After a pine tree is cut down, it can absorb water through the sapwood under the bark in the trunk.

When the Christmas tree is harvested, sap flows towards the cut area to cover it and protect it from pests and disease. It’s like a scab that you develop when you get cut.

If you don’t get the Christmas tree into the water before sap hardens in the fresh cut, the tree will not be able to absorb water. So without water, the Christmas tree will begin to die after 6 to 8 hours.

Do Christmas Trees Just Need Water?

Christmas tree nursery
Christmas tree nursery

Yes, Christmas trees just need water to survive through the holiday season. Nothing else should be added to the water. Well, of course, the tree also needs light, so in addition to watering it, you want to make sure it’s getting enough light.

There are many myths about additives that can help a Christmas tree last longer. For example, some say to add a tablet of aspirin to the water. This does nothing to help the Christmas tree.

The only additive you might consider is a teaspoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of water if you use well water. This prevents algae growth from clogging the tree’s pores. Let the bleach water stand for an hour before adding it to the tree.

However, if you have chlorinated water provided by your local municipal water district, you should not have to add anything to the water. All your Christmas tree needs to stay healthy through the holidays is fresh water and light. Don’t fall for any myths about adding things that are unnatural for the tree.

What Makes A Christmas Tree Last Longer?

The main thing that keeps makes a Christmas tree last longer is daily and consistent fresh water. Some trees may drink a gallon of water a day, so it’s important to just keep the tree watered every day. Without adequate water, a Christmas tree will quickly begin to dry out.

The needles will become brittle and start to fall off the tree. It is important to use lukewarm or room-temperature water; hot or cold water can shock the roots of the tree and cause it to wilt. Additionally, keep your Christmas tree away from fires or heat sources.

This will prevent the tree from losing too much moisture through its branches and needles. Heat can dry out a tree faster. You might even want to spritz your tree with water to add moisture to the needles.

Lowering the temperature can help your Christmas tree last longer. Cooler temperatures prevent drying out as quickly. Cooler temperatures also prevent the tree from growing as much.

If you want your tree to root or are trying to propagate some cuttings, you’ll want to keep warmer temperatures. If you find that your Christmas tree is not absorbing water or sap has hardened at the base, you can add warm water to melt away the sap. This can help the tree continue soaking up water for as long as possible.

Trim your tree up if you notice some branches dying. Removing excess dead growth will help the tree from wasting its energy trying to keep those pieces alive.

What Type Of Christmas Tree Stays Fresh The Longest?

Balsam Fir Christmas Tree Farm | image by Madereugeneandrew via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Fraser Fir is the Christmas tree that stays fresh the longest. Other popular species of Christmas trees sold at retailers are Douglas Fir, Balsam Fir, and Scotch Pine. The Fraser Fir also gives off some of the strongest pine smells to fill your home with the scent of a real Christmas tree.

It’s dark green in color and will stay fresh for several weeks. A 6 to 7 feet tall Fraser fir will absorb about a quart or more of water per day. There’s no such thing as overwatering a Christmas tree, so keep plenty of fresh water in your tree’s reservoir stand for it to last longer.

In Closing

A Christmas tree can only live 6 to 8 hours without water before it starts to die. Once it dies, the tree can no longer absorb water through its trunk, so it’s important to get your Christmas tree in water as soon as you get it home if you want it to last.

Dry Christmas trees not only lose needles and become unsightly to look at, but they’re also a huge fire hazard. Be sure to keep your Christmas tree watered for a safe and fun holiday season.