Globe gardening guru Carol Stocker will be on line live to answer your holiday decorating questions Thursday, 1-2 p.m. on Nov. 22... Christmas Tree long life is determined by watering. Find a stand that holds 2-3 gallons and keep it constantly full. After you buy you tree, store it in a shady cool area outdoors. The last thing you do before you set it up is to cut an inch off the butt to expose fresh wood that can soak up water. Then immediately immerse that end in warm water before it can dry out. If the freshly cut end of the tree dries out after its been set up it will lose the ability to drink and soon be a goner unless you recut the but again. And that is pretty hard to do once the ornaments are on!
Broad leaved evergreens have a tendency to dry out more quickly than needled evergreens, though a few stems on the mantle can provide variety. Holly stems need to be in water when used indoors. Crush the ends of wood stems with a hammer and place them in a bucket of water that's hot but comfortable to the touch, allowing three house of soaking before using. Cut 9 inch lengths for making wreaths. Don't use white pine, spruce or balsam indoors unless they'll be in water. But Scotch pine, arborvitae, chamaecyparis, laurel and boxwood are fine indoors without water. Avoid using hemlock indoors as the needles shed. For outdoor decorations, use chamaecyparis, laurel, arborvitae, Scotch pine, hemlock, boxwood, spruce or balsam, which will stay green for months out of doors without water.