Once you have cut your Christmas tree or purchased one, what's the best way to keep it green and fresh looking? Here are some tips we received from MSU Extension Forestry. The tree stem is simply a bundle of tiny straws that needles use to suck water out of the soil with. As soon as the tree is cut and warms up, these little straws start transporting water. And if cut, they suck in air that then blocks further water transport. The longer a tree stem is in this condition (a cut stem out in the air), the more air blockage occurs in the water transporting tissue. That's why immediately before putting your tree into its stand, it's good to cut the bottom inch or two off. Or have them do it where you buy it.The air blockage is usually confined to that lower layer of cells. Sometimes a mild sugar addition helps the tree absorb water better. And a common rule of about one-quarter cup of 7-Up in the water helps the tree. Sometimes the tree water will also grow mold, which is why some folks add a tablespoon of bleach. Hope this helps and here's to a beautiful, long-lasting Christmas tree at your place this year! DB