Make a fresh cut on the butt of the tree to open up the pores, which have been clogged by sap. Cut off at least one-half inch. The fresh-cut surface should be cream-white, not yellow or brown. If you do not make a fresh cut, the tree will not be able to drink water.
After the cut is made, put the tree in water as soon as possible. The longer the time between when the tree is given a fresh cut and when it is put into water, the less ability the tree has to absorb water.
Even if a hole is drilled to accommodate a pin-type stand, a fresh cut also should be made on the butt.
Put in Water.
Check stands for leaks.
Rinse water reservoir of the tree stand with a mixture of one capful of bleach and one cup of water before inserting the tree. This reduces the growth of micro-organisms that can block the tree's ability to absorb water. Great care should be taken to avoid spilling or splashing the bleach on carpeting, etc.
Place the tree in a sturdy stand which will hold at least one gallon of water. (Fill with plain water)
If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, it should be stored in a bucket of warm water on a cool porch or patio away from wind and sun in warm climates and protected from freezing and wind in cold climates.
An average tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day.
If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed by the tree unless another fresh cut is made.
So don't forget to Add Water Every Day.