With multiple videos of Christmas tree falls circling the internet, toppling disasters may not be so uncommon for people who choose to take home real evergreens each year. But why do Christmas trees tend to fall?
To keep a Christmas tree steadily upright, a wide and heavy stand is essential. Fishing lines, flat wooden board bases, and counterweights can be installed to improve stability. A tall Christmas tree can present a safety hazard for toddlers or pets if it falls over.
If you are struggling with a leaning Christmas tree, we are here to discuss reasons, steps, and tips in mounting and stabilizing your tree.
Each year, about 1000 people injure themselves while decorating their Christmas trees . Unstable Christmas trees can be inconvenient at best and hazardous at worst.
- A fallen Christmas tree creates a lot of mess. A living Christmas tree that falls down will leave a mess of prickly needles, sticky sap, and muddy water all over your floor. Cleaning will take even longer than setting up the tree. Save yourself a lot of time by properly securing your tree.
- A Christmas tree that can topple is unsafe for children and pets. Children and pets can get excited from the festivities and may try to run around, pull on, or climb up the Christmas tree. Avoid the disaster of a fallen tree by creating a barricade at the base using a child gate or a huge wall of heavy presents. Keep breakable ornaments and wires out of reach.
- An earthquake can easily destabilize your tree. If your Christmas tree is not steadily mounted, even the remote case of a mild earthquake can send it crashing down. Invest in a good quality Christmas tree stand to properly anchor your tree.
Trees have root systems that are wider than their foliage to hold them steady against strong winds . Christmas trees displayed indoors lack the roots to counter the weight of their trunk and foliage, and therefore can only be anchored down by significantly heavy stands.
Choose a wide, sturdy base. As a rule of thumb, the stand should be at least ⅓ as wide as the bottom branches. Bigger and taller trees require wider and heavier stands. Metal stands are more expensive and more difficult to transport compared to plastic stands, but they get the job done in keeping your tree upright throughout the holidays.
Some stands come with sharp spikes in the middle, puncturing the stump to hold the tree in position and allow for better water uptake. For added weight, choose a stand that has a huge water-holding capacity.
The most-recommended tree stand is from Krinner. Made using German engineering, the Genie Stand makes setting up easier by using a foot pedal to raise clamps that will hold your tree steady. There’s no need to manually tighten screws! This stand can secure trees up to 12 feet in height and up to 7 inches in diameter.
To put up a Christmas tree, 1) take measurements, 2) prepare the house, 3) choose the display location, 4) remove the netting, 5) attach the stand vertically, 6) ask help from someone, 7) make sure the tree stump touches the bottom of the stand, and 8) make adjustments.
Take measurements. Before you go shopping for a tree, measure the height of your ceiling, the width of your floor space, and the diameter capacity of your tree stand. Jot down those measurements and bring your measuring tape as you browse retail stores. This will save you the trouble of having to trim and prune your tree later on.
Prepare your house. Clear the path from any obstructions before you bring your tree indoors. Move furniture aside and temporarily cover carpets and floors with newspaper to protect them from sap and needles that may be falling from your tree.
Choose the display location. It is ideal to set up your tree in the same place where you want to display it. This way, you won’t have to drag and carry the tree around after you’ve stabilized it.
Remove the netting. Once a tree settles from the cold outdoors into the warmth of your home, the branches will begin to relax. The balance of the tree may change as the branches hang down compared to when the tree was baled together tightly. For this reason, don’t wait until you’ve mounted the tree before removing the netting.
Attach the stand vertically. Some people prefer to attach the stand on the base while the tree is lying flat on the ground. The problem with this approach is that the balance will be slightly off, and you will have to re-adjust the bolts anyway once the tree is standing up.
Ask help from someone. You will need a partner to help you mount the tree. One person should hold the tree upright on the stand while the other should tighten the bolts one at a time. Make sure each bolt is piercing up to 1 inch inside the tree.
Make sure the tree stump touches the bottom of the stand. Push down the tree as hard as you can, making sure that the stump is touching the bottom of the stand. Otherwise, the tree may sway side to side and eventually fall. If the base is not long enough to reach the bottom of the stand, use shears to prune the lowest branches from the tree. You may also opt to put a flat piece of wood under the base to fill the gap.
Make adjustments. Ask the other person to step away and check if the tree looks perfectly centered. Even the slightest lean can slowly put pressure on one side of the stand and eventually bring the whole tree down. Try not to re-adjust your bolts too much because that can decrease their snugness.
To prevent a Christmas tree from falling, 1) check the floor level, 2) distribute ornaments evenly, 3) place your Christmas tree in a corner, 4) anchor your tree with a fishing line, 5) weigh down the base, 6) create a wooden platform, and 7) consider getting a table-top Christmas tree.
- Make sure the floor is flat. Carpets or objects on the floor can create tiny bumps that may cause your tree to lean towards one side. If it’s not possible to remove those obstructions, use Wobble Wedges to even out the legs of your tree stand.
2. Distribute ornaments evenly. Even if only one side of your tree will be facing people for the most part, decorate the tree uniformly on all sides. Avoid having a top-heavy Christmas tree by hanging big ornaments at the bottom branches and placing lightweight decorations near the top.
3. Place your Christmas tree in a corner. Try displaying your tree in the corner of a room. In case the tree falls, there will be two adjacent walls to potentially catch the tree.
4. Use a fishing line to anchor your tree. Tie two or more monofilament fishing lines around the trunk of your tree. Tie their ends to a hook on the ceiling, a screw on the wall, a nail on the door frame, a window latch, or a curtain rod. Fishing lines such as the one below are thin enough to look invisible. You may also use dental floss or picture hanging wire.
5. Use weights to hold down the stand. If your stand is not heavy enough to hold your tree down, place bags of sand or bricks on top of its legs. You can also put some rocks in the water reservoir, but be careful not to displace the water too much. Cover the stand with a Christmas tree skirt to hide any unsightly objects.
6. Create a sturdy platform. To keep your tree from tipping, screw the legs of your tree stand into a wide hardboard or plywood such as the one below. A 2×2-ft flat surface distributes the pull of gravity evenly on all sides. Use wider boards for bigger trees.
7. Consider getting a small, table-top Christmas tree. If you have toddlers or young pets at home, it may be safer to get a table-top Christmas tree, at least until they have grown big enough.
- Unstable Christmas trees create a lot of mess when they fall, pose a safety hazard to children and pets, and topple easily in the event of an earthquake.
- A stand which is adequately wide and heavy can keep a Christmas tree secured.
- Properly mounting a Christmas tree requires the cooperation of at least two people attaching, centering, and adjusting the tree on its stand.
- A leveled surface, even weight distribution of ornaments, anchor lines, counterweights, and flat platforms can help stabilize a Christmas tree.
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