3810 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 876-1014

Archive date:  November 30, 2006

Keep your holiday greenery looking great!

Tips to keep them looking their best all season

Live trees and boughs bring the sights and scents of winter indoors. There are several things that can be done to help your cut greenery last throughout the season.
The key to long-lasting cut trees is providing plenty of water. After purchasing your tree, store it in a cool place if you do not plan to set it up immediately. Cut the trunk, removing 1" from the base, and place it in a water reservoir that holds at least 1 gallon of water. This fresh cut allows the water to be readily absorbed and translocated throughout the tree. Be careful not to allow the base to dry out. Once dried, the base seals preventing water uptake. If this happens the trunk will have to be cut again. Check the water level twice a day to ensure the trunk remains wet.
Christmas trees should be placed away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, wood stoves, candles, etc., that may speed the drying process and increase the risk of fire. Fresh, well-watered, and well-placed Christmas trees do not represent a fire hazard.

Garlands, wreaths and centerpieces may be made from branches trimmed from the bottom of your tree or may be purchased pre-made. When buying greenery, make certain you buy the freshest available. If you are not going to use it right away store it in a cool, moist (not wet) environment. Basements or shady areas on the ground outside work well. If displaying the greenery outdoors, avoid southern or southwestern exposures that can cause the greenery to dry and discolor in a matter of days (especially with direct sun and wind.) Indoors place your greenery away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Keep your house as cool as you can stand it to prolong the life of your greenery. Close air vents in rooms where greenery is displayed. There are products available that prolong freshness as well. They are "Wilt Pruf" and "Cloudcover", anti-transpirants that when applied correctly will slow down water loss. To apply, spray your wreaths and boughs thoroughly, contacting all leaf surfaces. Apply the product outdoors and allow it to dry at least one hour.

Safety Tips!

* Always keep your Christmas tree watered. Remove the tree from your home if it dries out.
* Fireproof your tree or natural wreath. Many products are available.
* Never have lighted candles on or near your tree or wreath.
* If you choose to have lights, inspect them for safety. Use only lights that have been manufactured in the last five years and meet current safety regulations. Replace all bad bulbs. If your lights are hot to the touch do not use them. Do not use lights with frayed or worn electrical wires.
* If you choose to have lights, never leave a lighted Christmas tree or wreath unattended.
* Do not set up your Christmas tree or wreath near a fireplace, heater, register, oven or any other heat source.
* Supervise pets and children around your tree.
* If your beloved pet or your loving child keeps knocking down the tree or wreath, consider tying twine around the trunk about 3/4 up the tree and anchor it to the wall.
* If the cat or your two year old likes playing with the ornaments, hang the breakable ornaments higher out of their reach.

After Christmas, recycle your tree and greenery. Either load them up and take them to a recycling area or be a bit creative and utilize the organic waste in your own landscape. Here are just a few ideas.

* Place the tree in your garden and decorate it with bits of bread, bird treats, orange slices, apple slices and pine cones spread with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed. In the spring, the tree could be chipped for mulch or burned for heat.
* Owners of large, fish stocked ponds may find that a couple of Christmas trees, properly weighted down, provide a wonderful habitat for fish.
* Branches can be cut off and used as mulch in the garden. Lay the boughs over your perennials to protect them from wind and freezing weather.