Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

While we may not all agree on whether an artificial tree is more sustainable than chopping down a real evergreen tree this Christmas, what we can agree upon is that if you already have an artificial Christmas tree, you shouldn’t let it go to waste. Greenpeace says an artificial Christmas tree should be used for eight years to make its environmental footprint less than that of a real tree (though artificial tree owners should strive for 20+ years), but you may have to put in some extra work to keep it looking fresh year after year.

Here are some tips for maintaining your artificial Christmas tree so that it can spread holiday cheer for the seasons to come.

Fixing lights

While pre-lit trees may seem like a convenient avenue to avoid the hassle of untangling Christmas lights to string around the tree, they are actually one of the most common issues that pop up with artificial trees. Instead of sending the tree off to a donation center (or worse, condemning it to a landfill), take the time to repair the broken lights.

If you discover that a big middle section isn’t lighting up, it may mean that the fuse for one strand of lights is out. Scrutinize the tree’s fuse box (usually located near the central structural support pole or by the primary power plug at the base of the tree), and switch out the old fuse with an extra that is supplied with the tree. Or, if the extra fuse is amiss, look online or visit your local home improvement store for a replacement.

If the problem is from a broken bulb or damaged strands of lights, then replace the broken bulbs as soon as possible, or try to find a replacement for an entire strand of lights. You can speak with your local waste management company about the safest way to dispose of the faulty strand of lights.

Filling in gaps between branches

Due to the fact that Christmas trees spend most of their time (around 10 to 11 months per year) stored away in a cramped space, the branches will have the tendency to compress, which results in large gaps in the tree.

To fill in these gaps, first, try to fluff the branches. Start from the innermost part of the tree at the bottom, and gently tug the branches outward to spread them. Many hands make light work so ask friends and family to help you out with this time-consuming task.

If the branches have been fluffed but your tree is still looking sparse, then consider investing in a lush evergreen garland (real or artificial) to match the tree and make it appear fuller.

Other ways to disguise the gaps in your tree are to focus on the decorations. Decorate the tree with wide ribbons and use large ornaments to detract from the spaces.

Cleaning artificial Christmas trees

Before displaying your tree, you should carve out some time to clean the tree of dust and debris that are tucked into the branches after a long time in storage. First, remove lights and other electrical elements from the branches then use a vacuum or microfiber cloth to dust them. For a tree that needs extra TLC, mix a couple of tablespoons of dish soap into warm water, and dip a microfiber cloth into the solution before wiping down the branches. Set sections of the tree on towels to dry before assembling.

Storing Christmas trees

One of the most important factors in maintaining your artificial tree is proper tree storage. The first step is to invest in a storage bag that is long and wide enough for your tree. You can even find storage bags that stand upright or are equipped with wheels for easier mobility.

The next step is to select a spot for your tree to inhabit for the next year. While many people opt for the attic or garage, it’s crucial that you keep in mind how extreme changes in temperature or humidity may lead to mold, mildew, or fading.

Once you’re ready to put the tree in storage, make sure to remove any decorative items like ornaments, garlands, and light strands. Keep these items organized and labeled to prevent damage and to make unpacking them easier next year. Then, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disassembling and folding the tree.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

“Blue Corridors”: using science and animal instinct to save fish populations

We’ve all marveled at the intrepid salmon swimming against the current, up waterfalls, and avoiding predators to return to its native spawning grounds, or at least we’ve all seen it on a nature show. This ... Read More

The Local Infrastructure Hub: helping US cities get infrastructure funding

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was signed into law six months ago and has the potential to transform the United States in essential ways that address climate change and wealth inequality. Before that happens, though, states ... Read More

New desalination system uses Teflon-like membrane to make seawater potable

Clean drinking water is already in short supply in many places around the world, but the situation is only expected to get worse with climate change. Figuring out ways to desalinate brackish water or seawater ... Read More

How scientists are bringing human eye cells back from the dead

Scientists from Switzerland and the US were able to achieve something miraculous—some might even say Biblical: bringing dead human cells back to life! The team published a study that opens by defining death as the ... Read More

Turns out the job market isn’t all doom and gloom after all

Life is a surprising adventure, experiencing ups and downs when we least expect it, so, of course, just as we come out of a global pandemic there looms the possibility of an economic recession. Amid ... Read More

MIT system uses machine-learning to reduce traffic and car emissions

As if idling in a line of cars at a red light forever wasn’t bothersome enough, vehicles emit greenhouse gasses while they’re stopped in traffic. Not only that, exposure to excess vehicle emissions while idling ... Read More