Does hairspray stop pine needles from dropping?

Expert warns against popular Christmas tree hack that can cause fires

  • Mark Rofe gives his take the hairspray hack and whether it actually works 
  • READ MORE: The date you should put up your Christmas tree to avoid bad luck 

An expert has warned against spraying your Christmas tree with hairspray to stop pine needles from falling.

While many plant experts claim that the hack does indeed work, Sheffield-born Christmas tree savant and owner of, Mark Rofe, has branded the method ‘old fashioned’ and ‘useless’, while warning that the ‘fire hazard’ could cause a threat to life.     

The trick involves spraying your entire Christmas tree with hairspray as a way to lock in moisture to the plant’s pores, thus keeping the branches and pine needles in place a little longer.

Speaking to FEMAIL, he explained: ‘Using hairspray to prevent the needles from falling off your Christmas tree has become a bit of an old fashioned and unnecessary hack. 

‘If you go back 20 or so years ago, the most popular Christmas tree sold in the UK was the Norway Spruce, these have spiky needles that tend to drop, especially when the tree was dehydrated or exposed to warm conditions. 

Sheffield-born Christmas tree savant and owner of, Mark Rofe, revealed whether hairspray can prevent pine needles from dropping off your Christmas tree (Stock image)

‘I guess the idea of using hairspray was that it would help to hold the needles in place to prevent this’. 

Mark explained that while the hack is somewhat helpful in aiding pine needle retention, keeping a healthy and long-lasting Christmas tree largely boiled down to the type of tree you brought home. 

‘The most popular Christmas tree sold in the UK is the Nordmann Fir, also known as the “non-drop” Christmas tree’ he added.

‘You might be able to guess why. The needles on these trees don’t have a tendency to drop, they are more likely to go brown, and curl up and shrivel while remaining on the tree. 

‘This is why I say the hairspray hack is unnecessary because we’ve got trees that have gotten far better at retaining their needles now.

‘So in most instances hairspray is likely to be completely useless when it comes to helping with needle retention for your tree’. 

The good old hairspray trick involves spraying your entire Christmas tree with hairspray as a way to lock in moisture to the plant’s pores, thus keeping the branches and pine needles in place a little longer (Stock image)

The world renown Christmas tree is traditionally an evergreen conifer, and includes the spruce, pine and fir types.

The expert suggested springing for a different choice of festive tree to avoid its pine needles shedding, before adding: ‘If you do have the less popular Norway Spruce Christmas tree, it’s possible hairspray might help’.

Still, Mark was hesitant to recommend hairspray even for the baldest of trees due to the hair product’s highly flammable nature. 

He said: ‘The fire hazard you’d be creating would far outweigh any potential benefit you’d get from preventing the needles on your tree from dropping. 

‘The combination of wood, flammable liquid, and a heat source has the potential to create an inferno in your home’.

Mark’s expert tips on keeping your tree healthy 


Mark advised shoppers to test the weight of the tree before considering anything else. 

He explained: ‘When choosing a Christmas tree try picking up a few to get an idea of their weight. 

‘Steer clear of any trees that feel significantly light, because this could be a sign that it has gone into shock, a good quality and healthy tree will be heavier’.

The next step involved having a peruse of the tree’s aesthetics, making sure to note the look and feel of the pine needles.

‘Observe the needles on the tree too, make sure they look healthy and have a shine to them.

‘The needles should not fall easily, try picking up the tree and dropping it gently on its stump. A few needle drops are to be expected, but if lots drop, it’s a sign the tree isn’t fresh or it’s dehydrated’.


The tree expert suggested sawing off a 3cm chunk at the base of the tree as soon as you’ve brought your merry purchase home.

He explained why: ‘It’s important to do this because when the tree is initially cut, sap forms to protect the area where the cut has taken place, you can think of it as a bit like a scab on the human body.

‘This sap can prevent the tree from soaking up water, so taking off a few centimetres will allow the tree to take up water more easily’.


In addition to unconventional methods, Mark highlighted the importance of keeping your Christmas tree watered and fed.  

‘The most important thing is to ensure your tree is kept hydrated. It’s best to purchase a Christmas tree stand with a built in water reservoir, and ensure it is topped up with fresh water daily’.


With the indoor heating blazing and your windows locked tight this winter, your home may become too warm to inhabit a tree. 

To make your Christmas tree last as long as possible, Mark advised placing it in the coolest room you have. 

‘Make sure your tree is kept away from direct heat such as radiators and underfloor heating’ he added.

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