If your holiday celebration includes a Christmas tree, this is for you.
Real vs. artificial? Artificial trees are petroleum-based and nonrecyclable. Eighty percent to 90 percent are imported (mostly from China). They can be used for multiple years but spend most of their lives in a landfill — they are not biodegradable.
Real trees are part of an agricultural industry that provides employment for more than 100,000 people. More than 400 million Christmas trees are currently planted in the United States (about 30 million are cut, sold and replanted annually). Real trees can be composted, turned into mulch or used to rebuild Louisiana’s marsh and wetland coast.
According to 2014 statistics, there are around 40 Christmas tree farms in Louisiana. Over half are choose and cut. Trees grown in Louisiana are mostly pine, cypress and cedar. You also will find imported pre-cut fir and spruce. Information about each type is available online or at your local Christmas tree farm.
Needle length, color, fragrance, density, branch strength and size are all things you want to consider when choosing your tree. At the tree farms, you can choose and tag your tree in advance, then cut it later when you are ready to take it home. Choose a healthy tree that is not losing its needles.
Use a tree stand with enough capacity to provide 1 quart of water/1 inch of trunk diameter.
Cut a ½ inch disc off the base of your tree before placing it in the stand to ensure that the trees water uptake “pipes” are open.
Do not shave the sides of the tree to make it fit the stand — get a larger stand or smaller tree.
Check the water daily. A steady water supply is the best way to keep your tree fresh. Research shows water is all that’s needed; use of “stay fresh” additives or aspirin really doesn’t aid in keeping your tree fresh.
Do not place your tree near a heat source. While a fresh green tree is not a fire hazard, dry brittle trees are. Do all you can to keep your tree from drying out and remove it if it does.
Did you know?
Real Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states.
Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.
Average production time for a tree is seven years.
The first Christmas tree farm was started in 1901 in New Jersey
Living Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies, use carbon dioxide, give off oxygen and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts.
For more information, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.
Q: I have a Bolero rose in a five-gallon container that I’d like to plant. When is the best time to plant it? - Nadine
A: If you are transplanting a rose, mid-December to early February is the best time. Transplant once the rose has gone dormant. If you are planting a containerized rose, plant the rose from late October to late February; however, the sooner you plant it the better. Planting now will give your rose more time for the roots to establish and grow before the high demands of spring and summer arrive.
If you have a grafted rose, make sure you plant the rose with the graft union about 2 inches above the soil line. Most roses do best if planted in full sun in a slightly elevated or raised bed. This will provide better drainage for your rose which is essential for the majority of roses in the New Orleans area.
Joe Willis and Anna Timmerman are LSU AgCenter extension agents. Questions? Write to email@example.com