The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 18, 2013

Christmas tree care just takes some effort

By COLBY GRIFFIN
Extension agent

TARBORO — Christmas Tree Care

BY COLBY GRIFFIN

Assistant Extension Agent-Horticulture/Agriculture



It’s that time of year again for fruitcake and eggnog, stockings and bows, and the gathering of loved ones around that beloved evergreen, the Christmas tree.  Now since I’m partial to Fraser fir and in supporting our Christmas tree farmers; I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume everyone has a real tree.  Everyone holds their respective tree with great pride.  You never insult someone’s selection of tree.  It cuts to the soul, because countless walks through the tree lot and serious discussion with family went into having THE perfect tree.  I wanted to discuss a few ways to insure your precious Tannenbaum has the longest life possible indoors.

It doesn’t take much to keep your tree fresh.  However, there are a few things you can do to insure its longevity.  Make sure to have personnel at the tree lot gently shake and bounce your tree on the ground.  It’s expected for there to be some needle loss.  This is typically last year’s brown needles from the interior of the tree.  If exterior green needles are lost the tree is too dry and you should move onto another.  According to the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association, “the needles on a fresh Fraser fir break crisply due to their high moisture content.  If you try to bend a green needle and it is pliable, then the tree is too dry.”  If it is not already done for you before you leave the lot, make sure to make a fresh thin cut on the trunk no more than ¼ to ½ inch.  This is to provide maximum water uptake by the tree.  Sap immediately starts to harden around the cut, so it’s best to get your tree placed in water as soon as possible.  You should treat your tree just as you would fresh flowers.  Daily inspect the water level under your tree.  Never let the water level drop below the base of the tree.  There isn’t a need for special additives.  Your tree may use up to a quart of water a day for every inch of trunk diameter; she is thirsty!  Also, keep the tree away from your home ventilation system, as close proximity will dry the needles.

When you “go green” at Christmastime you are supporting North Carolina Christmas tree farmers.  Whether it is a Fraser fir, white pine, or Leyland cypress, remember, It’s Got to be NC Agriculture.



(Colby Griffin is the newly named Assistant Extension Agent-Horticulture/Agriculture for Edgecombe County.)