You’ve added bleach, aspirin, soda, syrup or sugar to your Christmas tree’s water to help the evergreen last longer. Did they work?
Tree experts say they don’t. It seems like they would: The common blend of 7UP and bleach seems like it would, indeed, make the tree’s water more acidic and help the tree take in more moisture and food. The sugar in the soda, it seems, would help feed the tree. The disinfectant in the bleach would prevent mold, fungi and algae from forming.
So it seems. Yet it’s an urban myth, and it’s not true.
Adding acidity to the water doesn’t help the tree take in moisture. Sugar acts as a nutrient; in fact, the tree doesn’t need food. It just needs water. And sugar can cause bacteria to grow in the water and make it smell bad. Although some believe bleach may help prevent bacteria like mold, it’s more likely to kill the plant tissue with its hydrochloric acid.
The best way to keep your tree healthy and smelling good is to make a fresh cut on the tree trunk right before you dunk it into a tree stand filled with fresh water. Check the water daily to make sure the cut is covered and never exposed to air. Once it’s exposed to air, the trunk will start forming a cap that will prevent the tree from soaking up the water it needs to last all season.