MACON, Ga. —

This report has been contributed by Rylee Kirk, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Donald Watson has had a Christmas tree farm for 42 years. He says the secret to a healthy tree is just water. 

“I don’t think that we have a real tree that won’t live well past Christmas if you keep watering it,” he said. 

It is especially important to water it extra when you first bring it home.

“The first four or five days it needs an awful lot. An average, or what I call an average tree here, probably drinks about a gallon a day for the first four or five days and then it slows down to about a quarter a day. A large tree would drink more, a smaller tree would drink less,” Watson said. 

What about those old wives’ tales of aspirin, ginger ale, and sugar in your tree water?

“I don’t think it hurts the tree, the only thing the tree really, desperately needs, is water,” he said.

If you’re still worried about the vibrancy of your tree, Watson said lots of tree farmers sell an additive made of mostly nitrogen.

“You pour that in it keeps it greener a lot longer,” he said.

The biggest mistake Watson sees is easy to prevent. 

“Height. I have seen, literally, I’m telling the truth, I have seen ladies come in with husbands six-foot-four, six-foot-six, and want a six-foot tree. That tree’s really about nine feet and he’s trying to tell her it’s not gonna fit. They need to measure the height.” 

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