×

How to Tell If Your Christmas Tree Needs Water With a Ping Pong Ball

Getty Images

If your family opts for a fake tree at Christmas, then you're probably not too worried about keeping it hydrated. Real trees, however, are another story; real trees require a little TLC. Between keeping the dog from slurping out of the bowl every time he gets the chance to reminding your kids to keep the tree watered, maintaining a healthy-looking evergreen before Christmas day can be a struggle — not to mention a fire hazard, as dry and brittle branches do not make for a happy holiday.

If your Christmas tree has low-hanging branches, it might be difficult to see whether or not the water needs to be refilled. Thanks to Reddit user SolidDoctor, we now have a quick and easy solution to the problem: Drop a ping pong ball in the water reservoir.

When the ball is visible and floating, you'll know the tree has enough water. If you can't see the ball, then it's time to help your thirsty tree — just add water until you can see the ball again.

DIY Hidden Christmas Tree Watering System

If you simply do not have time to pay attention to a floating ping pong ball, then try out this DIY Christmas tree watering system created by Ricky Spears, a user on the DIY site Instructables. Like you, Spears was annoyed with constantly bending down to check whether or not his tree needed to be topped off. Instead of dealing with it, Spears developed a cheap and effective way to water his Christmas tree without having to crouch under the branches.

Using a bucket, decoy present, and some tubing, Spears created an automatic tree watering system — and we have to admit, it's pretty brilliant. For detailed instructions on how to create your own Christmas tree watering system, see Spears' tutorial on Instructables.

5 Tips for Caring for Your Christmas Tree

As mentioned, real Christmas trees take a certain amount of tender love and care. Here are a few tips on how to properly care for your tree from the professionals — the National Christmas Tree Association.

1. Use a traditional stand. Displaying your tree in water in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their evergreen freshness. This will also minimize needle loss problems.

2. Ensure the stand has an adequate water holding capacity for the tree you choose. Most tree stands should provide up to one quart of water per inch of stem diameter.

3. Use a stand that fits your tree. If your stand doesn't fit your tree, buy a new one. Refrain from whittling the sides of the trunk to fit the tree in the stand. The outer layers of bark are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

4. Don't drill a hole in the base of the trunk. Contrary to popular belief, it won't improve water intake.

5. Place the tree in water as soon as possible. As soon as you get home, place your tree in water. Most trees can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk.

More from FIRST

How to Make Sure Your Christmas Tree Doesn't Have Bugs

How to Avoid Spending More Money on a Christmas Tree

This Genius Trick for Watering Your Christmas Tree Keeps Needles from Falling Off!