Monday, December 12, 2005

Reader Q&A

We live in Arizona and used to put our tree in the swimming pool when we had chlorine and it seemed to last longer. Now we have a salt chlorinated pool is it still ok to put it into the pool?

Answer: Ummm...OK, I give up, why would you put a Christmas Tree in your pool?

From: Scott
Subject: Birch Pines

At my place of employment we are discussing the pros & cons of various Christmas tree species. One of my fellow co-workers is stating that he has found a place that is selling Birch Pines. because of this he is taking quiet a bit of flak due to no one else being able to find documentation of that species. Could you please settle this discussion before we purchase live tree's for this holiday season.

Answer: Never heard of a "Birch Pine" species grown as a Christmas Tree, nor can I find it listed on the Arbor Day Foundation's tree guide

However, that doesn't mean that I don't believe your co-worker when he says there's a place selling "Birch Pines" as Christmas Trees. It's not terribly uncommon for a species of tree to be referred to in unique regional lexicon names. For example, the Red Fir is a species native to northern California and not uncommon in western states, but to most people in California, they are not referred to as "Red Fir" but as "Silvertip." Another example would be Concolor Fir, which is commonly referred to as "White Fir" even though it's scientific name is abies concolor Hildebr. Often this is the result of various "cultivars" of the same species being grown by different growers.

So, while Birch Pine is not a species unto itself, I would say the "flack" he is receiving should be reserved until he is proven wrong by a visit to the retail location itself. They may indeed be selling a tree which they call "Birch Pine."