Caring for Live Christmas Trees and Poinsettias

With Thanksgiving this week, it officially rings in the holiday season, and for us in the plant and landscaping world, that means live Christmas trees and poinsettias. There are important factors in keeping both thriving throughout the holidays, so here is our advice.

Christmas Tree Care

Some don’t feel Christmas is real without a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Unfortunately, these days most fresh-cut trees in tree lots aren’t exactly fresh. Unless you’ve cut the tree yourself, you will need to prepare the tree before putting it int he stand. To do this, slice an extra inch off of the bottom of the trunk to allow the tree to establish a good channel for absorbing water. When the bottom of the tree dries out, it blocks the tree from taking in water and it will quickly become an instant fire hazard. You’ll want to  make the cut flat across and avoid bruising it or getting it dirty. Then get the tree into water right away. Removing the bottom of the tree trunk is the most important thing to remember about live Christmas trees. Other things to keep in mind are as follows.

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Live Christmas Tree Tips

  1.  Using a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss.
  2. The base of the tree should ALWAYS be submerged in water.
  3. Get the right tree stand. It should be able to hold 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. It also needs to be large enough to hold the trunk without shaving off the sides. The outer layers of the wood are the best at soaking in water and should not be removed.
  4. Although tempting, don’t put the tree next to the fireplace. It will dry out and become a fire hazard. Same goes for next to a vent or heater.
  5. Using smaller lights helps prevent the death of the tree. Miniature or LED lights are best.

In addition, there are also a lot of watering myths out there. Adding aspirin or anything else to the water won’t help. The water temperature doesn’t matter, and drilling a hole in the trunk isn’t going to do anything.  If all of this fuss is too much for you, consider a fake Christmas tree, a rental tree, or one the can be planted in the yard after Christmas.  Planting your Christmas trees each year can be a fun family tradition that keeps on giving to you, your family , and the Earth. In Oregon, we have several companies offering this type of tree. You can read more about it on inhabitat.com.

Poinsettia Care

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Poinsettias are tropical plants and prefer a great deal of sun. Find an east, west, or south-facing window to situate your poinsettia in. Temperature is very important. You’ll want to keep your poinsettias in a room between 65 and 75 degrees at all times. Dipping a little lower at night may be okay, but temperature quickly effects these temperamental plants. Avoid letting the leaves touch a cold window or cold drafts to reach the plant. When the temperature isn’t right for a poinsettia, it starts losing leaves and becomes very sad-looking very quickly. Water a poinsettia when the surface of the dirt is dry. Water until it flows out the bottom, but be careful not to over-water. In the winter, houses lack humidity, so you will probably find yourself watering your poinsettas every day throughout the holidays.

Whether it is live Christmas trees, poinsettias, or an entire landscape, All Oregon remains industry experts in everything to do with your yard. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, or post them to our Facebook page.

Christmas tree photo by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Poinsettia photo by Vouliagmeni (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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