A Christmas tree is a traditional part of our holiday decor and many people cherish a live tree. Artificial trees are lovely, convenient and can be used year-after-year. But, they do not compare to a real tree to bring the outdoor beauty and fragrance into our homes. Keeping a real tree healthy, green and above all safe is of major concern. This recipe for a live Christmas tree fire retardant along with other safety measures will help make the holiday season a happy and safe one.
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Many years ago, our local news radio shared a recipe for fire-proofing a Christmas tree on their garden report. Now, it is impossible to make a tree fire-proof, but you can keep it hydrated and treated with a solution that will make it fire-resistant. Diligent care and some additional precautions will go far in keeping you, your family and your home safe through the season.
I notice some recipes add an additional ingredient not included the recipe I have used through the years. Chelated (pronounced KEY-lated) iron can be purchased from a garden shop, plant store or through the amazon link in this post.
Christmas tree fire retardant ingredients
Other ingredients for the solution can be bought from the grocery store. Look for the Borax near the bleach in the laundry aisle. The Epsom salts can be purchased from the drug store.
Christmas Tree Fire Retardant Recipe
- 2 c. Karo Corn Syrup
- 2 oz. Liquid Chlorine Bleach
- 2 pinches Epsom Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Borax
- 1 tsp. Chelated Iron (purchase link below)
Fill a two-gallon bucket with hot water to within one inch of the top and add the remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly, dissolving ingredients. Set aside.
With a saw, make a fresh cut on the bottom of your Christmas tree. Try to cut level taking off at least one inch.
Immediately stand the tree in this solution and let it sit for 24 hours.
Keep the remaining solution. Place your tree in a tree stand that contains a well for liquid. Use a cup to pour solution from the bucket into the tree well.
Every day without exception, add additional solution from the bucket to the well. Never let the reservoir dry out. Check it several times a day.
A fresh tree will drink several GALLONS of water over the typical 10-14 day period they are up in your home. Keep your tree away from heating stoves, space heaters and even televisions, because the heat from these electronics tends to dry out the tree.
How does the solution work?
The Karo syrup provides the sugar necessary to allow the base of the tree to take up water. Up to 1.5 gallons of water can be taken up by the tree over a two-week period. Boron in the Borax allows the tree to move the water and sugar out to every branch and needle in the tree. Magnesium compounds in the Epsom salts and iron from the chelated iron provide components for the production of chlorophyll to help keep the tree green. The bleach prevents mold from forming in the solution. Some of the other beneficial side effects of this procedure are that the needles will not drop, and you will notice an increase in natural evergreen fragrance.
When selecting a fresh cut tree, check the needles. They should be green and difficult to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Check for older trees by grasping the top of the tree and bounce it on the ground; if too many needles fall off the tree has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
Caring for Your Tree
Be careful where you set your tree. Keep it away from hot air vents that can dry out the tree prematurely. Don’t place it near a fireplace. Never smoke near a tree or place lit candles nearby. Don’t put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or a wood burning stove. Remove your tree from the home right after you remove the decorations. Discard it according to your community regulations or ordinances.
Lights and decorations
Maintain Your tree lights
Take special care when packing and unpacking your tree lights each year. Inspect the lights prior to each use for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, missing or broken bulbs, and excessive wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Read the manufacturer’s instructions, but link no more than three light strands unless the directions state that you can link more than three. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Check the wires every so often; they should not be warm to the touch.
Each package of Christmas lights lists how much electrical current the lights require and is listed as either watts or amps. 100 watts is roughly equal to 1 amp; most home receptacle circuits can handle 15 amps of which you should only use 80%, or 12 amps. Most circuits have more than one receptacle on each circuit, so you need to take into consideration anything else you have plugged in to the circuit. How much current your lights require varies depending on how many lights are in the string and what type they are which is why it is important to check the package.
DO NOT leave lights on unattended or overnight.
Use only Nonflammable Decorations. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant, and placed away from heat vents.
Here is the link to your FREE Handmade Holiday Craft Project Planner.
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