Archive for the ‘christmas tree care’ Category

Christmas Flowers & Greens – After the Holidays, Now What?

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Christmas flowers and evergreens
Now that the holidays are over, here are a couple tips on what to do with those Christmas flowers and your Christmas tree, wreaths, garlands and other evergreen Christmas decorations.

Five Things to Do with Your Christmas Tree, Wreaths and Garlands

  1. Sink it in a pond or stream. Submerged Christmas trees make great habitat for fish. If you don’t have a body of water on your property, a local conservation group may pick up the tree and toss it into an appropriate pond or stream for you.

  2. Put it outside on your land. A Christmas tree can provide lodging for all kinds of birds, squirrels and other small animals. Once it starts to decompose, it can become a nursery to insects, fungi, even amphibians and reptiles.
  3. Protect your perennials. Wreaths, garland, and boughs cut from a Christmas tree can be placed over perennial beds to reduce frost damage to plants, as well as frost heaving caused by freezing and thawing. Saw up the trunk to create sturdy, homemade trellises or tomato stakes.
  4. Toss it into the woodstove. Use a few dry evergreen branches as kindling to start your fires.
  5. Mulch it. Many communities have tree recycling programs that turn everyone’s old trees into valuable garden mulch.

(Thanks to Mother Earth News)

Making Your Amaryllis Rebloom

amaryllis bulb kit

You don’t need to throw away your amaryllis bulb kit. Amaryllis is a perennial, so If you’d like to see your amaryllis plant bloom again, remove the blooms once they have faded, so the plant’s energy will go into the bulb rather than seed production. Continue to grow the amaryllis inside at a south-facing window for about four months (through April, say), until the weather warms enough to put it outside.

Next put your bulb outside, in an area sheltered from rain (or turn its put on its side so it won’t collect rainwater). This will trigger dormancy. Snip off the dead leaves and bring the plant inside in the Fall when temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Finally, water the bulb to break the spell of dormancy and initiate new growth, and place the plant in a bright light while continuing to water moderately. Once it starts to bloom, move it to a spot with less light to prolong the bloom time.

Caring For Your Christmas Tree:

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

History Of The Christmas Tree

The idea of placing a live tree in the home and decorating it has been around for years and practiced by many cultures.

Over 1000 years ago, St. Boniface, a Christian missionary, came across a group of German Pagans worshipping an oak tree, claiming it was their deity. In anger, St. Boniface chopped down the oak tree exclaiming that his God was mightier than theirs. From the roots of the oak sprouted a young fir tree. Saint Boniface took this as a sign from God and began spreading his Christian faith around Germany. It wasn’t until the 16th century when fir trees were used for decorative purposes.

In the early 19th century, the custom of the Christmas tree became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts when Princess Henrietta von Nassau-Weilburg introduced the Christmas tree to Vienna in 1816. Since then, the custom of decorating a Christmas tree spread around the world and traditions have since evolved over the years. Boughs from fir trees are also used for other Christmas decorations including wreaths, garland, centerpieces and kissing balls.

Fresh Noble Fir TreeFresh Evergreen Wreath
Fresh Evergreen GarlandKissing Ball

Choosing A Christmas Tree

In picking out a Christmas tree, you should always perform a freshness test. Gently grasp and pull a branch toward you. In doing so, only a few green needles should fall. Next, gently shake the tree. Again, only a few green needles should drop. There should only be a small amount of brown needles, if any. In transporting your tree, make sure it is wrapped in either a plastic sheet or a blanket in order to protect the branches from the wind.

Before you begin decorating your tree, make sure you have a Christmas-tree stand that will hold enough water. There should be room for 1 quart of water for every inch in diameter of the tree’s trunk. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut about a 1/4 inch off the bottom of the trunk with your saw.

Within the first 24 hours of placing your tree in its stand, it can absorb up to 1 gallon of water, and 1 quart or more per day afterward. Be sure to keep a constant supply of water in the tree stand because if the tree runs dry, sap will leak out and create a seal over the bottom of the trunk. If you notice your tree has been dry for more than a few hours, you will need to cut the bottom of the trunk again.

Christmas Tree Tips

Remember to keep your tree away from direct heat and drafts. Never leave the lights on your tree plugged in if you have left your house and be sure to check the water daily.

Evergreen Tips

If you have a few cut boughs from your Christmas tree, instead of throwing them away, use them to accent your holiday floral arrangements or to plump up your Christmas wreath. In order to keep your greens fresh, mist daily with a water bottle and keep away from all direct heat sources.