We asked tree grower Clarke J. Gernon Sr., a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, for advice on how to prepare your...

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We asked tree grower Clarke J. Gernon Sr., a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, for advice on how to prepare your tree for its stand. Here’s what he suggested.

• If it’s been a while since the tree was cut down, recut the base to put the tree’s vascular system in contact with water.

• Be sure to stand the tree in a bucket of water while it’s waiting to be brought into the house.

• Don’t whittle the base if the tree stand doesn’t fit; that makes it harder for the tree to absorb water. Get a larger stand.

• Trim the lower branches if they prevent you from getting the trunk firmly planted in the base; cut limbs flush with the trunk, as you would if you were pruning a plant.

• Don’t make a career out of setting the tree up. Get the job done before it dries out again.