A Guide to Life-like Christmas Trees
All life-like Christmas trees require proper care and handling to ensure they look like realistic. Follow these tips for setting up, shaping and storing your tree, and you’ll enjoy it for many years to come.
1. Life-like Christmas trees are usually packaged and wrapped in large sections. When you first
open the box, sort the sections by size. Each tree manufacturer codes the sections differently, some by letter, others by numbers, so you can sort them with ease. Follow the instructions regarding which section goes into the stand first. Most 7 ½-ft trees come in three sections, plus the stand. You’ll be assembling the tree in sections, so do not fully assemble the tree now.
2. Be sure the tree stand is assembled properly. Place it as close as possible to where the tree will be displayed. We do not recommend moving a tree after it’s assembled and shaped.
3. Insert the bottom section into the stand, unwrap or untie it and let the branches fall into place. Plug in the lights with the provided extension cord. Use the switch or foot pedal to turn on the lights. Inspect the lights to be sure they are all working. If there are any lights out, there are several things that could be the cause.
4. Start shaping the bottom row of branches, one at a time. Use a cinch strap or string to tie up all of the branches of this section except the row you are shaping. Once the entire bottom row is shaped, release the next row of branches to shape. This process keeps the row above out of the way as you shape each row. After the bottom section is completely shaped, insert the next section and repeat until the entire tree is shaped.
5. To shape a branch, arrange the tips so they look realistic. All tips should be straight and point in different directions away from the main stem of the branch. Start at the back of each branch and fan each tip into a different direction similar to the 9:00 – 3:00 hands of a clock. This will create the fullness of the tree!
6. For the front tips of the branch you can choose Open Hand, the Claw, or the Straight Point method. See diagrams for a sample of these three shaping methods. Open Hand: Great for trees to give them an upswept look with branches curling towards the sun. The Claw: Gives your tree a down- swept realistic look. The Point: Great for trees that do not have as many tips.
7. The Tree Top: Spending a little extra time on the top of the tree makes a big difference! You will need to blend the top section with the top row of branches. We recommend pulling the top branch out straight and then give it a slight curl on the end as if bending towards the sun. Try to keep each branch equal distance from one another. Decrease the angle from the pole as you work your way up the top.
Take Down & Storage
To get the longest life, it’s important to store your life-like Christmas tree properly. Here are proper instructions:
1. Replace Broken & Burned-Out Lights
Look for broken or burned-out lights while removing decorations and replace them immediately. The more light bulbs burned out on a string, the more electricity the working light bulbs consume, which will cause the life of the remaining lit bulbs to be shortened dramatically. This should also be done when you are putting your tree up at the beginning of each season.
Watch out video Troubleshooting and Repairing Lights on a Life-like Tree
2. Disassemble The Tree
Remove the top section of the tree and unplug the power cord from the section below. Turn the top upside down and gently fold the branches toward the center pole. The rest of the tree can be in up to four sections depending on the height of the tree. For a 7.5’ tree the most common amount would be two sections. Using the straps that are included in our deluxe tree bags, fold up half the rows on the sections and wrap the strap around the branches, Pull on the strap gently, until the strap holds the branches in place. Continue to fold up the rest of the branches on each section using up to two straps per section holding the branches in place. For the bottom section, loosen the bolts before removing it from the tree stand. Keep small pieces, such as replaceable light bulbs, in a small re-sealable bag in your storage bag.
3. Place in a Storage Bag
The best place to store your tree is in a storage bag. It has been shaped and altered from its original boxed form, so jostling it back into the box may cause damage to the branches and lights. You can find three different styles of storage bags at all of our store locations.
– For easy transportation of heavy-to-lift trees, choose the red canvas bag with side straps and wheels.
– With handle straps for carrying on both ends of the bag, another recommended storage bag is made from a green canvas with 4 tree branch straps and a heavy duty zipper that seals out dust.
– We also have a plastic bag that has two carrying handle straps.
4. Where to Store the Bag
Store it in a cool place where temperatures are not extreme. The temperature should be between 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity, as possible. Home attics or garages where summer temperatures can be much higher than 80 degrees are not recommended as the plastic needles could possibly be deformed.
The basement is the best option for storing. Place the bag off the ground on a shelf to avoid possible water damage.
Watch our video Life-like Tree Set-up and Storage
Life-like trees sold at English Gardens come with a 10-year warranty on the tree and stand, and a 3-year warranty on the lights. For tree and light repair or have any questions about tree storage, call or visit your local English Gardens store.
NOTE: Improper care and handling could void some or all of your warranty. The experts at English Gardens are available to answer any questions and assist with any of these tips. Visit one of our stores and we’d be happy to help.
Incandescent Light Set Maintenance
1. All miniature light bulbs on pre-lit trees have a limited life. Each year your tree should be carefully inspected and any burnt out bulbs replaced. A few spare bulbs have been included with your tree. Extra bulbs for your specific tree are available in our store. When one bulb burns out, the rest remain lit. As more bulbs burn out, the remaining bulbs are absorbing extra power that is not being used by the burnt out bulbs. This extra power shortens the life of the working bulbs, so changing burnt out bulbs as soon as possible will extend the life the rest of the bulbs on your tree.
2. When all the bulbs are lit they should last between 1,500 and 3,000 hours depending on the brand
of tree. With an average use of five hours a day for 30 days a year, the bulbs should have a 10-year life, as long as burned out bulbs are replaced regularly. To prolong the life of the lights you may want to use a timer to turn them on and off.
Watch our video How to Store a Light Strand
Light Set Troubleshooting
If you have a large section of lights not working there is probably an entire set or multiple sets that have failed. There are several things that might cause this. Be sure that all the plugs of that section are plugged in. Often, as trees are set up and taken down, a set may come unplugged. There also could be a missing light bulb or one with a broken glass cover. Examine the unlit area, looking for any missing or broken bulbs. If this does not work, you may have a defective bulb. This bulb can easily be found and repaired with a tool called the Light Keeper. We have these available in our stores and it will help you repair your tree by finding the defective bulb. This helpful video explains the use of the Light Keeper.
Light Set Warranty
Your life-like tree comes with a three-season warranty from English Gardens. If any lights go out during the warranty period, usually, there is a very simple and easy fix to get them working again. If these do not work, call one of our stores for instructions regarding your warranty repair. Do not attempt to fix the set by removing
all the bulbs or the light string.