Master Gardeners at the ISU Extension Service have a few tips for picking out and preserving fresh Christmas trees. They say dried out trees will have brittle needles that will fall of easily. Needles on fresh trees will be pliable. They say if you don’t plan to set up a tree right away, it’s important to store it in a cool sheltered location like an unheated garage. The Master Gardeners say it’s also important to cut off about inch at the bottom of the trunk and keep it in a filled bucket of water. A properly maintained fresh cut Christmas tree should be able to remain in a home for 3-4 weeks.