Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Caring For Live-Cut Evergreen Trees

According to the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, a “Fireproofing Mixture Recipe” that can be made from common household ingredients will keep a live-cut evergreen tree green and mold-free for the duration of the season. The recipe appeared in a recent government document titled Celebrating the Tradition: Family Activity Book and is also on the Forest Service website.

Fireproofing Mixture Recipe:
2 gallons hot water
2 cups corn syrup
2 ounces liquid bleach
2 pinches epsom salts
½ teaspoon Borax
1 teaspoon chelated iron (found in garden shops)
Recut the end of the tree by 1 inch and let it stand in a bucket of fireproofing mixture until ready to bring it indoors. Once indoors, fill the reservoir twice a day (morning and evening) with the remaining mixture.

How the fireproofing mixture works:
The corn syrup provides sugar, which allows the tree to soak up enormous amounts of water. Without the sugar, only a small amount of water is absorbed into the branches and needles. The tree will soak up 1 ½ gallons of the recipe during the 10- to 14-day period it is up. This is approximately 800% more water than it would have absorbed growing in the forest.
The boron (in the borax) makes the water and sugar move to every needle of the tree. The epsom salts and chelated iron provide magnesium sulfate that facilitates the process of chlorophyll production, keeping its needles green. Bleach stops mold from forming when water and sugar stand for a period of time.
More care tips for live-cut evergreen trees can be found on the National Christmas Tree Association’s website.

Are Live Trees More Eco-Friendly Than Artificial?
Check out the debate on the National Christmas Tree Association’s website. They compare issues such as methods of production, components used, disposal, country of origin, and many others.

Evergreen Tree Recycling
Once the holiday season is over, don’t forget to recycle the tree. Many Monroe County communities have tree recycling programs. Check Monroe County’s Christmas Tree Chipping Program website for locations and contact information.

Christmas Tree Light Recycling Program
Many consumers are switching to LED lights over incandescent to decorate for the holidays because LED lights use 80-90% less energy. Rather than throwing the incandescent lights away, or stowing them in the attic or garage, try recycling them. The Ann Arbor Wholefoods store participates in a recycling program with, which is based in Jackson, Michigan. Go to their website for more information on recycling incandescent holiday lights.

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