Thursday, December 1, 2005

In Hot Water?

Received an interesting question today ...

Please explain the scientific basis for putting hot water in a tree stand. Thank you.

First, let me tell you that there are scientists out there who do controlled studies on these issues. Typically, to measure the water uptake and moisture retention rate of Christmas Trees based on different variables, they use a machine which presses the water molecules out of a small branch of a tree. Weight is measured both before and after, and the difference in weight indicates how much moisture was in the plant material. The scientists who do this are Plant Pathologists and most work at university extension research facilities.

NCTA works with these individuals and they share the results of their studies with us. This is what we base our care tips to consumers on. I only mention that so that it’s clear that our care tips are not based simply on anecdotal evidence, but rather actual scientific evidence.
OK. As for water temperature in the tree stand. We have been told from the scientists that water temperature does not have any measurable impact on either rate of water intake or moisture retention in most every species studied. The one exception that I have heard is the Blue Spruce, which has shown an increase in water uptake with hot water in the stand instead of tap temperature water. However, even that did not show consistent results.

So, because of that, we simply recommend regular temp tap water in the tree stand. No need to heat water first.