Use a sturdy stand that fits your tree. Stands should hold one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a 4-inch diameter trunk needs a stand that holds at least one gallon of water.
When it’s time to put up the tree, saw off a ½ inch thick disk from the bottom of the trunk. Make the cut perpendicular to the trunk, not at an angle. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.
The freshly cut trunk should be placed in fresh water as soon as possible–at least within several hours. If you’re not ready to take the tree inside, place the trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water. If the trunk stays out of water for more than 4 to 6 hours, a new fresh cut should be made.
Keep trees away from major sources of heat such as fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, and direct sunlight. Lowering the room temperature will help keep the tree fresh.
Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of the water does not go below the base of the tree. The stand may need to be refilled more than once a day for the first several days.
Keeping the bottom of the trunk submerged in water at all times is the best way to keep your tree fresh. Water temperature is not important and does not affect water uptake. Additives are not recommended and can be detrimental to moisture retention.