How to Keep Evergreens Fresh

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When it comes to holiday decorating, nothing beats fresh evergreens, whether a live Christmas tree or cut evergreens crafted into wreaths, garlands, swags or centerpieces. The fresh-cut greenery is beautiful, but you need to take steps to keep your evergreen Christmas decor fresh throughout the holiday season.

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Start with fresh evergreens in good condition, and carefully select the location where you will display the decor to avoid things like heat and sunlight that will dry out the cut plants. Then provide moisture for the evergreen, whether that is placing the cut end in water or misting the plants regularly.

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Whatever decorating ideas you have for the season, using fresh-cut greens adds life to your decor. Many evergreens, such as cedar branches, bring a fresh scent to your home. You can make your DIY decorations even more interesting by adding other elements, like pine cones, holly berries and LED lights. With a few simple steps, your evergreen holiday decor will last through the holiday season.

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Selecting fresh-cut trees and greenery

If you want to keep your Christmas greenery fresh, you need to select the right evergreen trees and branches. If you start with evergreens that are already drying out, it will be difficult, if not impossible to keep them fresh throughout the season.

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When you go to the garden center or tree lot, you can find a variety of Christmas pine trees, including blue spruce, Fraser fir, balsam fir, noble fir and white pine. Availability can vary depending on the trees available in your local area. Examine the tree to make sure it seems fresh and healthy. Some signs that the cut tree is already aging and drying out include discoloration, wrinkled bark, and needles that shed when you run your hand down the branches.

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You can also speak to employees at the tree lot to find out when the trees were cut down and whether they expect a fresh shipment that may provide better options.

Follow a similar process when taking cuttings of other evergreens such as holly or magnolia. Choose branches that seem in good condition with healthy green leaves that aren't discolored, dried out or wilted. Once you select your evergreen Christmas tree or evergreen branches, take them home as soon as possible. Leaving them in a warm car or in direct sunlight can start to dry out the greenery.

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Keeping a cut tree fresh

The process for keeping a cut evergreen Christmas tree fresh is a bit different than what you need to do to keep other holiday greenery fresh. When you get your Christmas tree home, cut about 1/2 inch of wood off the trunk and place the tree in a stand with a reservoir full of fresh water. You don't need to use additives, but check the reservoir each day so that the tree always has plenty of water.

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If you aren't able to put the tree in the stand right away, make sure to put it in a bucket of water in a location that is out of direct sunlight until you can complete the steps above. Position the tree away from the fireplace and heat vents that can quickly dry it out. Also, avoid locations where the tree will be in direct sunlight. Finally, select LED Christmas lights for the tree as these lights don't generate heat like incandescent lights.

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You can also keep your evergreen tree fresh longer by spraying it with an anti-desiccant or anti-transpirant spray. These products help keep moisture from evaporating through the leaves.

Keeping holiday greenery fresh

Not all evergreen Christmas decorations can have a water reservoir to keep them fresh. Evergreen wreaths and centerpieces made from fresh greenery can dry out quickly without proper care.

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With proper care, your fresh evergreen decor can last for approximately three weeks indoors. You can purchase a spray online or at your local garden center or make your own.

As with your fresh-cut tree, position the fresh greenery in a location that is out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Every other day, spray water on the cut ends of the fresh evergreen branches. If you use the evergreens to make a centerpiece or decorations for the table, consider using florist foam to secure the cuttings. The foam holds water that will help keep the branches fresh.

Care for outdoor decor is the same as indoor decor. If possible, display the evergreen decorations in a shady location and spray the evergreens with water every couple of days. Consider using an anti-desiccant spray on your evergreens to help them last even longer.

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Fresh-cut evergreens typically stay fresh longer outdoors as there is often more moisture outside in many climates.

Keeping your fresh evergreen decor looking good through the holiday season is simple with a bit of time and attention. Start with evergreens that are fresh and healthy, and display them in a location that is away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Spray the cut ends with water every two days, and consider using an anti-desiccant spray. With these easy steps, you can enjoy fresh evergreen decorations this Christmas season.

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