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By proper selection and a little extra care, you can lessen the danger of fire hazard from your cut tree and keep it fresh for the longest possible time. The first thing I look for when selecting a cut tree is the number of needles that are on the ground. This usually indicates whether the tree is reasonably fresh. of course, with loading, unloading and handling, there are bound to be some needles in evidence. However, an excessive number of fallen needles would tend to indicate that the trees are not of highest quality.

After selecting your tree for shape and size, raise it about one foot off the ground. Then firmly hit the base of the trunk on the ground. Notice how many needles drop. Again, this will help indicate the freshness of the tree. If you have a choice of fertilized or non-fertilized trees select the fertilized one. Research has proven that trees which have received additional nitrogen in the spring will hold their needles up to twice as long as trees that have not been fertilized.

Keep your tree in a cool place until you plan to use it indoors. Also, keep it in water if possible.

Before taking indoors, cut the base about one inch or more above the original cut. Cut at an angle to expose the maximum amount of tissue and remove clotted resins that have sealed off the tree trunk.

Check with your local fire department for recommendations for tree fire retardation.



Among the most popular greens used in the home are holly, fir, spruce, cedar and pine. The branches of many of these trees add a very pleasant aroma to the surroundings when used inside. Before using any branches for decorative purposes, they should be treated to keep them fresh longer. This will keep them from drying out so fast, lessening the chance of creating a fire hazard.

Wilt Pruf or Holly Dip is available at nurseries, garden centers, garden departments and hardware stores. This material can be used to help prevent the needles, leaves or berries from dropping while they are being used in the home. The following is the best procedure to follow when treating greens:

  • 1. Mix the correct amount of water and preservative material together in a bucket or tub or spray the foliage.
  • 2. Cut the evergreen branches and immediately dip them in the prepared solution.
  • 3. Move them around in the solution until all parts are equally treated.
  • 4. Hang them up to dry. The basement, garage or any cool, well ventilated place is suitable for drying.
  • 5. Keep the treated greens in a cool place until it is time to use them indoors.

Evergreen boughs can also be used in vases or other containers in the home. Fill the containers with the same homemade preservative as recommended above for cut trees. Add warm tap water as needed.



Holly is often shipped to friends or relatives in other parts of the country. The following are a few suggestions to help you get best results:

  • 1. Cut well-berried holly branches in the afternoon, about ten to fifteen inches long. Keep cut branches in a cool room.
  • 2. Before mailing, place the cut branches in water to give them drink.
  • 3. Dip or spray the-entire branch, foliage and berries in Wilt Pruf or Holly Dip to prolong the life of foliage and berries. Use method recommended above.
  • 4. If possible, wrap and send the cut holly the same day.
  • 5. Line a cardboard box with wax paper, to prevent the holly from drying out. Do not send branches that show signs of leaf miner or other insect damage.
  • 6. Mark the outside of the box: HOLLY - FOR DECORATIVE USE ONLY.


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