Tuesday, November 28, 2017 By: Ask A Master Gardener

Selecting and Caring for Christmas Trees

Selecting and Caring for Christmas Trees
Tom Ingram: Ask a Master Gardener
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Q: I want to pick the perfect Christmas tree this year. Any suggestions? LB
A: I understand the sentiment, as the Christmas tree typically serves as the focal point of our decorations for the season. If you follow a few simple steps, selecting your perfect tree can be an enjoyable experience.
While it may seem obvious, give some thought to where your tree will be displayed. Consider height, width and color. Will you only see your tree from one side or will it be visible from all sides?
Next, decide if you want to purchase a pre-cut tree or if you want to get yours from one of the area’s Christmas tree farms. A quick search on the web will provide you with several options for harvesting your own tree and, as you know, pre-cut trees are available from a variety of locations.
Oklahoma hosts several native-grown trees, such as Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, white pine and Arizona cypress. You will find good options in pre-cut trees, such as Fraser fir, Noble fir and Nordmann fir, all of which have a wonderful fragrance, good needle retention and will retain freshness. Each of these will also hold ornaments well.
When selecting your pre-cut tree, freshness is always key. To determine freshness, you can bend the needles. Fresh needles on the firs and spruces will snap kind of like a carrot and are not brittle. Pine needles will bend but break only if they are dry. Of course, the freshest of trees are those you cut and take home.
Once you get your tree home, you should saw about an inch off the bottom and place it in a container of water. If you purchased your tree but it will be several days until you bring it in to decorate, you should store the tree in a cool, shaded area.
Upon bringing your tree in, you should keep its base in water the entire period it is in use. No water additives are needed, but keeping the base in water is a must.
Be sure the tree stand is strong enough to support your decorated tree without falling over, as decorations can add more weight to your tree than you might think.
Also, make sure your tree is away from heat sources, as these tend to dry out the trees and increase the risk level.
Don’t leave the lights lit on the tree unless a responsible person is at home.
Finally, remove the tree before it becomes overly dry. The longer the tree is indoors, the greater the risk of it drying out.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on the way to having a Christmas tree you will remember for years to come.
Garden tips
  • Remove all debris from the vegetable and flower garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.
  • Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves. Take tropical water garden plants indoors and stop feeding fish when water temperatures near 50 degrees.
  • Start new garden bed preparations now. Till plenty of organic material into the soil in preparation for spring planting.


Post a Comment