Christmas tree hacks: Make your real tree last longer with these 6 household items

How not just watering your Christmas tree with lemonade can help it last longer in the run up to the festive season...

Christmas tree and watering can
(Image credit: Getty)

Real Christmas trees can often struggle to look fresh in the run up to Christmas, especially if you were super early at buying the fir opting to avoid the best artificial Christmas tree dealsand decorating the tree with baubles.

But did you know that aside from the simple lemonade trick which can help your tree last longer - there are five more ways at making your tree last longer.

Rosalind Peters, home interior expert at has shared her top six tips for helping your tree survive right through until the New Year.

6 Christmas tree hacks

  1. Add WD40 to your branches to stop them from hardening - WD-40 has many uses around the house - including keeping your Christmas tree green! The oil-based solution helps prevent sap from hardening on branches and leaves, so they don't stick together when touched by hands (or paws). 
  2. Water your tree with lemonade to prevent discolouration - This is an oldie-but-goodie trick that still works today. Lemons contain citric acid and vitamin C, which help prevent discolouration in real Christmas trees. Pour half a cup of lemon juice and one cup of water into a watering can every time you water your tree (which should be twice per week at minimum).
  3. Use coffee grounds to break down dead needles - The acidity in coffee grounds helps break down dead needles and promotes new growth. Grind up some used coffee grounds and rub them into the trunk and branches of your tree. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice or water to make it easier for the grounds to penetrate the bark. 
  4. Add tin foil under your lights to stop the needles from burning  - LED lights are better than traditional incandescent lights for many reasons; not only are they safer as they don’t heat up as much, but they last longer and, therefore, don’t need to be replaced as often. They also use less power – making them more energy-efficient and costing you less money in the long run. However, one downfall of using any light is that the heat will dry out the needles on your tree and cause them to drop faster than normal. To avoid this problem, simply wrap tin foil around the base of each light strand before plugging it in. This will act as an insulator and keep your lights from burning up the bark on your tree!
  5. Use a pencil sharpener to remove any remaining sap - When the needles drop off, it's not just the pine scent that goes with them - there's also a lot of sticky sap left behind on the trunk and branches. This can attract bugs, so if you want your tree to look its best for as long as possible, getting rid of this sap is important. You can easily remove it with a pencil sharpener. Simply use the sharpened end of the pencil to scrape away any sticky residue on your tree's branches.
  6. Use Epsom salts to improve your tree’s roots - Epsom salts are great for adding nutrients back into your trees' soil and will help prevent browning branches and needles, which in turn means it’ll last longer and look better. Just add two cups of the salt into your water reservoir and let it do its thing!

Singer Louise Redknapp took to social media last year to ask her followers about a Christmas tree care rumour she'd heard on the festive grape vine.

Louise tweeted a question to her fans, she said, 'Has anyone else heard of giving your Christmas tree lemonade to make it last longer? Or is someone having me on?

'And if so... does it require a Vodka with it? x' she added.

And you'll be surprised by the responses as it looks like the tip isn't foolery.

Lots of fans were quick to respond with their advice, confirming that the bizarre method actually works.

One wrote, 'You actually can Lou! A drop of lemonade — or a dilute mixture of water, sugar and lemon — adds nourishment. The glucose in sugar will help the tree to maintain its cell structure and prevent needle loss, even several weeks after being cut.'

Another fan added, 'Hey Lou, no it definitely works. I’ve been doing it for years. It has to be full fat though. Not sure about vodka ...might make it a bit unsteady!! X'

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Does lemonade really help Christmas trees last longer?

Yes, lemonade really does help your Christmas tree last longer. Gardening expert David Domoney recently gave This Morning viewers his tips for picking the perfect Christmas tree and among his hacks was mixing up some lemonade to feed it.

He said, "You can use florist’s cut flower food or you can just mix up some sugar water or full-fat lemonade."

But his soft drink addition stunned host Phillip Schofield.

David went on to explain that it's the high sugar content in the surprising Christmas tree food that will keep your tree looking fresher for longer.

"Yes, it’s the sugar really Phillip," he explained. "It’s an element of food within. You’d be surprised just how much water the tree takes up, so adding a little bit of food keeps them looking fresher."

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)