The secret to a long lasting tree is hydration. A properly watered tree will keep its needles and fragrance longer, and be safer, too. Whenever you buy a Mahoney’s Christmas tree we give it a “fresh cut” about ½"-¾" off the base to remove the sap “plug” – which allows your tree take in water. As soon as you get it home (or within 24 hours), place the tree in a stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water. Never store a tree on concrete and never shave off bark. Check to make sure the stand always has plenty of water. Do not allow the water level to drop below the trunk bottom or a new sap plug will form that will prevent water uptake. A new tree will take in a lot of water in the beginning, so don’t take a chance – plan on refilling your tree stand daily. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, hot air vents and other heat sources that could cause it to dry out. One more thought is to add tree preservative (Prolong) to the water. It helps to keep the needles fresher longer.
Poinsettias do not like the cold. Whenever you transport your poinsettia (either when first taking it home, or when you are bringing it as a gift) make sure it’s protected from temperatures below 50°. Even if you’re just taking a quick trip it may be prudent to wrap your poinsettia in paper and preheat your car.
Once home, watering is pretty simple. Check the soil every day or so, waiting for it to feel a little dry to the touch – but don’t wait so long that the leaves wilt. When it feels lighter and dry, then give it some water – but not too much. Over-watering is a more common mistake than watering too little. Also do not allow your poinsettia to sit in the water. Pour off any excess water, or place your poinsettia pot on a tray of pebbles. This will keep the roots from ‘drowning’.
Poinsettias don’t need a lot of light to stay colorful through the holidays, but some natural light will help them be extra vibrant well into the new year. Do not place your poinsettia where it can “bake” in the hot afternoon sun. Rotate as needed to help it grow straight.
Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60º and 72°. Keep your poinsettia away from drafts, radiators and hot air registers. Feeding it every few weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 is also a great way to prolong your poinsettia’s color and beauty.
Wreaths, Garland, and Roping
If possible, before you do anything else, soak your wreath or greens in cold water for 3-6 hours. The needles will soak up the moisture. Adding Prolong to the water will help extend the freshness of your greens. Another great option is to spray Wilt-stop on the leaf or needle surface. Wilt-stop is an anti-desiccant, an all natural spray that coats the greens with a thin wax that helps prevent moisture from evaporating from the needles and leaves. It’s easy to use and works great. Note: Unfortunately Wilt-Stop will seal in the scent of the greens and can also alter the color of blue evergreens and holly. Obviously soaking and Wilt-stop only work if your greens haven’t been decorated yet. Other than that, simply try to keep your greens out of direct sunlight and away from all heat sources. Adding humidity to the room will help a lot, too.