How to Preserve Pine for a Wreath

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Whether you live in frigid northern Wisconsin or sunny South Florida, the holiday season brings out the inner Santa Claus in all of us. While Rudolph may be pulling a sleigh through the sand or a snowbank, children everywhere wait breathlessly for its arrival.

Pine trees, pine cones, evergreen branches and fresh pine needles greet Father Christmas as the aromatic scent of pine wafts through the home. Sipping his hot cocoa and munching on a plate of freshly baked cookies, Santa marvels at the tenderness of the Christmas tree needles, knowing that they have been routinely watered and expertly preserved, unlike many homes that present him with a tree that leaves him scratched and scarred.

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Preserving pine for a wreath or interior decoration is a step many homemakers skip over, and it's one that not only extends the life of your wreath, but keeps it vibrant and healthy-looking throughout the season.

Instead of immediately hanging your wreath on the front door or laying evergreen branches on multiple side tables, take a moment to examine your purchase and give it that extra bit of care. Santa will appreciate it.

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Tip

Examine pine cones for bugs. They love hiding in crevices. To make sure they are bug-free, soak the pine cones in warm water and dish soap, air dry the pine cones, then bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes and watch as the pine cones open and come to life. If some dry out, use them as fire starters.

Be evergreen fussy and choose smartly

Not all evergreens are long-lasting once cut from the tree. Most need constant care and water in order to stay perky throughout the holiday season.

If you're building Christmas decorations such as a wreath from scratch, Missouri Botanical Garden suggests using fresh cut juniper, which has prickly needles; Ponderosa pine; white pine; or Douglas fir as the base. The same holds true if you just want stray pine branches or greenery for tabletop decor, as they hold water for a long time and don't dry out and lose their needles quickly like spruce does.

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Be sure the cuttings are fresh. Buy your cut branches from a local tree lot and ask where they originated. Local is best, and new growth is even better, as the evergreen trees are conditioned for the local climate.

Refresh the cut ends by trimming them at an angle before dipping them in any solution. Soak for at least 24 hours to allow the water to thoroughly soak throughout the cuttings.

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Keeping pine cuttings fresh

Keeping water within fresh evergreen needles is the key to a long-lasting decoration. A misting helps hydrate your wreath and cuttings, keeping them fresh. A simple spritz of water does wonders for your evergreens and adds fragrance to your home. Just be sure to remove any ribbons or decoration that may bleed color onto the furniture.

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Using an anti-desiccant spray, which was developed to seal moisture into the evergreens, prolongs the freshness while keeping them vibrant, according to Lakeland Yard and Garden, and can be purchased at local craft stores or on Amazon.

The environment is also a key factor in keeping your evergreens fresh. Keep them away from heating vents, fireplaces, direct sunlight or in breezes or drafts. If possible, move them to a cool spot overnight.

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Quick fixes to preserve pine

Hairspray, clear paint, hanging cuttings upside down for three weeks, adding part glycerin or floor wax to the soaking water — all have been suggested to preserve evergreen cuttings and keep them healthy throughout the holiday season. Yet the quickest fix that provides your cuttings with long life is water. And while you're at it, leave a glass for Santa next to the cookies.

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