MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Christmas is coming up fast, but if you’re not careful, your trees may not make it.

Dried out trees not only cause a mess and don’t look as nice, they can be dangerous. So I got some tips on how to keep your tree alive as long as possible.

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Finding a tree that lasts through the holidays starts with picking the right tree.

“White pines have the shortest life span,” said Laura Wood, the CEO of The Garden by the Woods.

She says Fraisers last the longest.

“Balsams are going last less time, so you want to make sure you put that up closer to Christmas,” she said.

Then you’ve got to make the right cut.

“The best thing is to kind of take care on the first part of the tree and make sure that you have the cut in the right spot,” Wood said. “One of the common mistakes is cutting right on the knots of the tree. What you want to do is make sure that you’ve got kind of a clean bark.”

This helps, because trees don’t drink from the center of the trunk.

“It’s not taking up water from the center spot, it’s taking it up from right under the bark on the outside edges,” Wood said.

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So you want to avoid any branches or knots.

“The bark is distorted around the knots, that’s the least likely to take up water,” Wood said.

Then the first day is the most important one.

“The first day you’re going to have to water it a couple times, I mean it really should be sucking the little bucket dry,” Wood said.

And the type of water matters, too.

“You want to make sure you use fresh water, that’s the best thing to do,” Wood said. “For instance, you want to take it out of your utility sink, or something that doesn’t have that salt that the softener puts in it.”

If that doesn’t help, get ready to cut again.

“Grab a utility knife or something else and you can make just a clean cut on the first layer of bark,” Wood said.

And if all else fails, you might want to get a new tree.

“Otherwise just make sure that you’re careful with your Christmas tree lights,” Wood said.

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You want to make sure you water your tree every day. And also make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, or lights.