Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Keeping Your Christmas Tree Green

A few days ago, someone asked me what they could do to keep their Christmas tree fresh and green this holiday season. Here is what I told her:

Picking the right Christmas tree depends alot on what type of tree you want. But what's most important in choosing a tree to last through the season is picking one that is healthy, green and doesn't have any brown or dry needles.

Once you've figured out the type of tree you want (douglas fir, noble fir, etc), look for a tree that is full and has a nice straight top branch (to put your tree topper on). You don't need to worry too much if the tree leans a little bit; the folks at the tree lot can cut an inch or so off the bottom to level it out. Look for one that doesn't have any "holes" in the branch volume. Make sure that when you touch the needles, they are soft. You don't want a tree with dry needles or needles that fall off when you touch them. Take a small branch between your thumb and forefinger and lightly pull; if brown needles are the result, or alot of needles fall off, look for a fresher tree.

Once you find your tree, have a lot worker take off at least an inch off the bottom. Doing this will expose fresh wood and will allow the tree to drink up water, helping it to stay fresh. Keep in mind however, that you need to get the tree in water as soon as possible after it's cut!

When you get your tree home, always put it in a container of some sort so you can keep it watered. A tree that has no water will dry out in about a week to 10 days and there you'll have a real fire hazard on your hands. A Christmas tree stand with a bowl is ideal. Put your tree in the stand, making sure it's steady. Now get ready to decorate!

Once you've decorated your tree, place it where it's going to stay for the season and fill the bowl with water. Do this AFTER you decorate so there is no danger when stringing the lights (remember, water and electricity don't get along together!) Keep it filled with water throughout the season. NEVER let the bowl dry out! It only takes about 6 hours of not having any water before the tree will form a thin layer of sap at the trunk bottom that will keep water from being absorbed. If that does happen, drill a few holes (at water level) into the trunk side to allow water absorbtion again. The first day or two your tree will drink aLOT of water, so check it frequently.

Here are a few other tips for keeping your tree fresh throughout the season;

Before putting the tree in the bowl, drill a few holes in the bottom of the tree trunk, about an inch or so deep. This will help the tree to continue to absorb water.

Keep the tree away from direct sunlight, and away from south and west facing windows and heat vents. These places will tend to try the tree out faster than if it is placed in other areas.

Use SeaResults Micronutrient Solution from The Happy Gardener in your tree water. This will help the tree receive nutrition during the season, thus helping to ensure it stays green and fresh.

There are many potions and gimmicks that people use to help keep their trees green, and some of them may actually work. But the bottom line is, if your tree is not watered or is allowed to dry out, it's a goner sooner rather than later.I hope these tips help. Happy gardening and Happy Holidays!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

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