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Should You Add Fertilizer or Bleach to Your Christmas Tree Stand?

A beautiful Christmas tree next to a sunny window in a brick-walled loft.
Oxik/Shutterstock

Real Christmas trees are beautiful and so fragrant. Who wouldn’t want to make them last an extra week or three? But do you need to dump additives into the water reservoir in the stand to make them last?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety of suggestions as to what you should add to make your tree last longer. Some people suggest grinding up aspirin and adding it to the water. Some suggest putting pennies in the stand before filling it up. Others say you should mix in bleach as a preservative or fertilizer to keep the tree healthy.

The reality is, however, the tree just needs clean water. Here’s the official verdict from the National Christmas Tree Association:

Should I add bleach, aspirin, fertilizer or other things to the water to make my tree last longer?

No! Research has shown that plain tap water is best. Some commercial additives and home concoctions can actually be detrimental to a tree’s moisture retention and increase needle loss. Water holding stands that are kept filled with plain water will extend the freshness of trees for weeks.

Not only are the additives unhelpful in actually extending the life of your tree, they’re also a risk to kids and pets in your household. Even worse, the kids and pets small enough to get under the tree and into the water reservoir would be disproportionately affected given their smaller size. You don’t want your kiddos or kittens drinking fertilized bleach water, after all.

For more Christmas tree tips, check out the National Christmas Tree Association’s full FAQ sheet here.

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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