Q: My son called me the other night with a question I did not have a good answer for. He said his Christmas tree had developed a crack at the base and the crack had run up the tree about a foot.
Any helpful advice on how to repair the crack? It sounded to me that the tree had dried out and developed this crack and when I asked him if the tree was still taking water he told me no.
Living trees develop cracks all the time and continue to live just fine (although the crack, depending on its severity, may degrade the tree's structural integrity).
The tree should take up water pretty much the same way as it did before as the only area that has been disrupted has been along the crack itself -- the other water-conducting tissues (the xylem) in the trunk not near the crack should be functioning as well as they did before the cracking occurred.
Keep in mind, many Christmas trees are cut in October and still call "fresh-cut", so the tree may not have been taking up much water to begin with. But again, the crack should have little or no effect on the overall water-absorbing ability of the tree.