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Keeping Live Christmas Trees Fresh — and More Seasonal Tips

Refresh greenery, prepare to plant your balled-and-burlapped tree before the ground freezes, and set the table with eye-catching centerpieces. Here’s your guide.

Fresh Tree

With late-season holidays underway and the yuletide spirit already in high gear in the retail sector, no one needs a reminder of what’s ahead. Tree growers are prepared for supplying live firs to garden centers and box stores that curate Christmas tree displays with various shapes, sizes, and needle types. They must keep those fresh-cut trees looking fresh. And at home, families who embrace the tradition of selecting a live tree to decorate want it to last until the New Year.

From pine swags to aromatic greenery strewn through stairway bannisters and atop mantles, the holiday season affords more opportunities to bring the outdoors in, regardless of what or how you celebrate.

Of course, there are parties and all the trappings — decorations including centerpieces and floral arrangements that benefit from water-saving, eye-catching Deco Beads. Not to mention, these expanding just-add-water beads make for entertaining STEM projects while the kids are home on break.

We’re feeling festive at JRM Inc. and Soil Moist, ready to help deck your halls with some helpful tips for keeping live Christmas trees and greenery fresh, whether you’re at home, a grower or retailer.

Feeding the ‘Live One’ – Fresh Christmas Tree Care Tips
Prolonging the vibrancy of a live tree requires some TLC — though keeping greenery fresh shouldn’t be another chore on top of a long list of to-dos. You can easily alleviate the burden of checking water constantly to keep your Christmas tree from drying out with a bit of easy prep

Tree Moist First, we always recommend cutting one inch off the tree trunk before securely placing it in the stand. Fill the tree stand with warm tap water. Avoid overfilling and leave two inches of clearance at the top. Add a preservative like Tree Moist or Tree Moist Plus, which is a non-toxic polymer to reduce waterings, spills and mess. A single-serve, one-ounce package mixes with water and treats a one-gallon stand.

Now, keep an eye on the tree during the first 48 to 72 hours to see how much water it drinks. Fresh cut trees are thirsty after being on the lot or nursery, so the initial watering will likely not last as long. Add water as needed. Add 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of Tree Moist granules per gallon of water.

After 24 more hours, check the level of gel that forms from the preservative pack to retain moisture. From there, check gel every one to two weeks, adding water as needed.

Municipalities that display trees in community centers and city buildings for the holidays can use Tree Moist to prevent staff from taking time away from other tasks. Plus, your community will appreciate a fresh, green Christmas tree for family pictures and events. 

Balled-and-Burlapped Planting Pointers
Some prefer balled-and-burlapped trees so they can plant them outdoors after the holidays. If this is your plan, there are some steps to improve the success rate of your tree thriving in the great outdoors after the gifts are unwrapped and the cookie plate is empty.

An important best practice: Minimize the time indoors for your balled-and-burlapped tree. Your home’s temperatures and the conditions outdoors are likely quite different. If a tree grows too accustomed to the warm environment inside, there’s a greater chance of shock when it’s time to move it on out. Also, do not soak the ball in water. Instead, a rule of thumb is to water daily.

soil moist spikes soil moist transplant However, you can minimize watering by using Soil Moist Spikes with or without fertilizer. Each spike stores more than 100 times its weight in tap water, releasing a steady supply of moisture as the tree needs it. And because all you have to do is push the spike into soil for results, applying them in a balled-and-burlapped tree is simple.

Once time to plant outdoors, prepare soil with Soil Moist Transplant, which contains a diverse blend of five viable ectomycorrhizal propagule species, and seven species of endomycorrhizal propagules that adapt to a wide range of plants. These beneficial colonies help roots establish, and the blend includes water-storing polymers to reduce watering.

When’s the best time to plant your balled-and-burlapped tree?

First, think ahead. Dig the hole for your tree before you purchase it, ideally before or around Thanksgiving time. This way, you know you can easily shovel into the ground without frozen soil or working around snow. It’s a good idea to save the soil you dig up in buckets in the garage or in an area that will not freeze.

When time to plant, work the transplant mixture into the soil with some water, keep the tree’s root ball in the burlap until you’ve properly placed it in its new home, and then cut away burlap and fill. We recommend topping with mulch to retain moisture during winter.

Cheers to Fall Fun!
Now, let’s talk entertaining. Whether you’re hosting a community event, a corporate function, or friends and family, our Deco Beads contest winners share inspiration from their creative arrangements, including a holiday tablescape incorporating poinsettias and a stunning lit cylindrical vase loaded with berry-colored beads. Also learn how to create a special events centerpiece that lights up the night with this how-to video.

snow real Here’s what we love about Deco Beads: The colorful water-storing beads for arrangements, crafts and engaging STEM experiments keep flowers hydrated, offer a world of creative possibilities, and come in a range of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs. (Stay tuned next month when we show you how to make decorative Real Snow.)

Prepare to Plant this Season!
Move into holiday mode with our full menu of environmentally friendly landscape and nursery products that are designed for professionals, homeowners, and retailers. Looking for more ideas? We look forward to hearing from you! Contact us to learn more or get answers to your questions.

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