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Keep the Christmas tree alive with non-toxic Christmas tree food. (Martin Poole, Getty Images)Christmas tree food helps the tree absorb water and food to help keep the tree hydrated. If you give your Christmas tree food it will keep its needles better and be much less likely to present a fire hazard. Commercial tree food and the popular tree food recipe on my site also protect the tree against bacteria and mold, which is nice, but also makes the tree food something you don't want kids and pets to ingest. While my kids have never tried to drink the tree water, my dog thinks the tree, the water, the presents... really everything... are dog toys or snacks. Here are simple tree food recipes that are safe for kids and pets. The acidity in the tree food helps the tree absorb water while deterring bacteria and mold. The sugar is the nutritive "food" part of the tree food.

Christmas Tree Food Recipe #1

Mix a splash of real lemonade, limeade or orange juice with water. I have been using limeade in water for my tree this season. It's still going strong, even though I put it up Thanksgiving weekend. The ratio of the ingredients is not critical. I'd say I'm using about 1/4 limeade with 3/4 parts water.

Christmas Tree Food Recipe #2

This is a variation on my original tree food:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Christmas Tree Food Recipe #3

Mix together a citrus soft drink, like Sprite or 7-UP, together with water. When you first put up your tree, you might want to use warm water to encourage the tree to drink water. Afterwards just make sure liquid remains available.

More Tips for Keeping the Tree Alive | Silver Crystal Christmas Tree


December 21, 2010 at 10:38 am
(1) Benton Jackson says:

There was just an episode of Science Friday which had a guest who is studying needle drop in christmas trees. One thing he mentioned is that adding sugar to the water just clogs the pores of the tree quicker.

He cited a study that showed that ethylene gas is what causes needles to drop, not lack of water. At least in Fir trees. That’s the same thing that causes bananas and tomatoes to ripen. So keep your bananas away from the tree! In the study they used an additive that blocked the ethylene receptors. Maybe someday that will be commercially available, and we add that to our trees.

Here’s the study:


December 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm
(2) Eileen says:

The needles on our tree are falling off rapidly, and also some browning of those on the tree. It did not drink water the first 24 hours. We made an inch cut off the butt and placed right away into the corn syrup solution. This always had good results -a fresh tree through New Years. Why did it not go well this time? The local nursery that sold us the tree asked me to promise them that I will never use corn syrup again–that the Extension Agency says it clogs the pores, as the other “commenter ” posted study shows. We discarded the solution, recut 2 inches off this time, placed in scalding plain hot tap water as the nursery said to do. It is drinking slowly now but the needles are dropping even worse. I think its the tree? We discovered a couple of broken branches while setting it up.

December 15, 2013 at 12:30 am
(3) Milwaukee Mold Inspection says:

In an environment you will frequently experience form,
which really is a fungus. By taking such preventive measure you can make
a wholesome environment for your family. You can get the analysis for this.

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