CLAY COUNTY — As the nation heads into the Christmas season, many have begun decorating their homes with garland, wreaths and trees full of ornaments.
If these holiday décor items are natural rather than artificial, Jim Gardner of Liberty’s Family Tree Nursery off Liberty Drive said there are some tips to follow keeping cut greenery and trees fresh longer.
“When talking about preserving greenery, a lot of it really depends on what side of the house you are putting it on,” he said, adding items left outside last longer as do items on the north and east side of a residence.
“Our store faces the west. We have pots that are out in front of our store that are display pots. We’ll replace some of the greens in those at least three times in the season because it’s just full of west sun. My personal house is facing due north. I’ve had my evergreen pot out in front of my house until Valentine’s Day and it still looks great.”
Treating cut items like trees also aids longevity, the gardening expert said.
“We also spray everything with a product called Wilt Pruf, which is an antitranspirant. It’s like putting hand cream on your hands, it helps keep and locks the moisture into the foliage.”
When buying a natural tree, Gardner said buyers should put them in warm water within a couple hours of purchase as warmer water is absorbed more quickly than cold water, keeping the tree well-hydrated.
“Then, you want to check the water on basically an hourly basis for the first day or two,” he said. “Making sure it’s warm water when doing it is really the key.”
With cut items, Gardner said fertilizing is not needed as the items are technically dead, “they just don’t know it.”
“Eventually, it’s going to brown out anyway, so fertilizing isn’t going to do anything,” he said. “Watering is the key though. You want to give them moisture every now and then. But, when it freezes solid, like in your pots, when it freezes, it holds everything in place really well. That’s a big deal there, too.”
As far as watering wreaths or garland after it goes up, Gardner says to avoid it unless the items are outdoors and “you feel comfortable doing it.”
“There’s no need. Those things are going to last as long as they’re going to last and that’s it,” he said.