The holiday season is officially upon and, as the classic song goes, it truly is “the most wonderful time of year.” All the tidings of comfort and joy mixed with scents of gingerbread and fresh pine decorations are instant reminders of the season. Speaking of fresh pine, if you’ll be decorating with real greenery rather than artificial, you’ll want to read through the following holiday decorating guide which discusses how to keep it looking its best.
Select the Freshest Tree Available
Step one is to buy the freshest tree available. This will ensure maximum needle retention therefore keeping your carpets and tile floors clean longer. When shopping for a tree at one of the many lots available throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, ask the lot attendant for details on when the tree was harvested, and where it originated from. If their shipment is older, ask when a new shipment of trees is expected to arrive, and if possible make your purchase then. It’s also a good idea to have the attendant make a second, clean cut, as well as trim the branches at the bottom of the trunk. Finally, you will want to avoid bruising the trunk.
Find the Perfect Setting for Your Tree
When setting up your tree, keep it away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, heaters or fans, heat vents or fireplaces, as these will speed up the drying process. If possible, lower the room temperature, and/or use a room humidifier. This will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day, and reducing fire risk. In addition, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) recommends using holiday lights that produce low heat, like miniature or LED (light emitting diode) light sets, which will also reduce fire risk. These holiday lights are generally inexpensive and cost pennies to run – making them a win, win.
Replenish Your Tree’s Water Supply Daily
As a rule, a tree will absorb as much as one quart of water each day per inch in trunk’s diameter, so make sure you’re using a reservoir-type tree stand that holds at least a gallon of water. The NCTA recommends using one of the following four tree stands: a center pin stand, a two-piece stand, a four-bolt stand, or a “clamp” stand. When topping off your tree’s water supply, plain tap water is fine, and temperature doesn’t matter and will not affect water intake (despite popular belief). Although not necessary, you can also add a preservative to help keep your tree fresh and reduce needle loss. Preservatives can be found at your local nursery or tree lot.
Pre-Soak Fresh Garlands and Wreaths
If you plan to buy fresh garlands and wreaths this year and want to ensure they remain fresh through the holidays, pre-soak them for 24 hours, beginning as soon as you get them home. Simply place your greenery into the tub, fill with water (until the wreath and/or garland is completely submerged), and let soak for 24 hours. Once the time has elapsed, drain the water from the tub, and prop the greenery up so that all of the water can drain off. Once dry, place in an area where you will have plenty of room to spread its needles, after which time you can hang it or drape it wherever you’d like. Your greenery should look and smell as fresh as the day you bought it.
Dispose of Fresh Greenery Responsibly
Once the holidays have come and gone, don’t just toss your fresh greenery to the curb, where it will take up landfill space. Recycle it all! Most cities, including Phoenix, have programs in place that collect trees, garlands, and wreathes and turn them into mulch for local parks and green areas. You will find tree drop off areas all over town beginning as early as December 26th. On Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phoenix residents can also drop off their trees to be recycled at the “I Recycle Phoenix” festival.