- Once you've selected your tree, make a fresh, perpendicular cut on the trunk, about a 1/2-in. from the bottom, then place in water within 6 to 8 hours.
- Use a tree stand with enough water capacity for your tree. Experts recommend a capacity of one quart for each inch of stem diameter.
- Check the water level at least once a day, and more often in the beginning. Make sure the water level is above the bottom of the tree trunk. The tree will absorb a lot of water initially.
- Keep the tree away from heat sources (radiators, vents, registers, fireplaces). They may cause the tree to dry out.
- When it's time to light the tree, use low-heat lights, like LEDs, and make sure to replace them if you notice that the wiring is worn or frayed.
For more on real Christmas trees, or to find a grower in your area, head to realchristmastrees.org.