Thursday, December 16, 2010

odds and ends

Check out the great segment on Christmas tree farming from the History Channel’s special on Christmas. Click HERE.

Last week, THIS ARTICLE caught our attention. Apparently an open tractor trailer had an accident and the trees spilled out onto the road. First, I certainly hope the driver is OK. Second, I feel bad for anyone stuck in that traffic. But it also made me think – this was December 10. Wonder what those people who think trees are cut and hauled in August were thinking? Actually most lots will be getting their last shipments of trees this week.

There was going to be a segment about marketing Christmas trees on The Daily Show today but it got cut at the last minute. Bummer.

OK, so I really do my best to not let jerk-ity jerks rile me up with emails, but sometimes I lash out. Check out this one from earlier in the week and let me know if it was too mean of a reply.

From: michael
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 12:21 PM
Subject: Informative site!

It really is an informative site you have here. Great facts, some of them which prove that Christmas trees, whether fake or real, should not be bought or sold at all. The fact that you try to make it sound "eco" to grow them is absurd. These trees are grown on land that formerly had virgin forests, where a tree that was 20 times + the size of a living room christmas tree, and was infinitely more useful/less detrimental to the planet. Yes, a real tree is better than a plastic tree shipped from China, but no christmas tree is better than real one that takes up land, shipping and growing costs, and then is thrown on the side of the road to hit the land fill just one month later.
Personally, I'd rather see a virgin forest and a bunch of Scrooges with no holiday decor. But, then, where would the industry be, and the Christmas cheer?

Perhaps, in our lifetime, we may find a replacement for the ridiculously wasteful consumer holiday, along with the christmas tree. And, in that same lifetime, we'll see our forests diminish to specks of national park reserves due to the growing number of mindless people who think that land should profit people, in some way or another. If a farmer feels the need to grow something, what happened to good ole fashioned food? I can live without a christmas tree, but not without christmas dinner. Show me some facts about the millions of starving people compared to the 30 million christmas trees sold each year in the states. Now that's some interesting facts...

Wow, I feel sad for you. There are almost 400 million trees growing on Christmas tree farms in the U.S….they would not exist if they hadn’t been planted by the farmers. It has nothing to do with “virgin forest” …you’ve seen too many Disney movies.

If you don’t want to decorate your home with a Christmas tree, that’s fine. About 20% of households in the U.S. don’t put up any Christmas tree each year, so you’re not the only one. But don’t spread your personal derision on others who choose to do so.

Merry Christmas!

For some reason, that email just bugged me. Anyway, here are some more common questions.

From: Nalini
Sent: Friday, December 10, 2010 11:37 PM
Subject: Blog Talk Ideas

Thank you for having a blog about christmas trees! we cut our tree from a great farm in our area and when we got it home we put it right into the stand. One thing is that my husband did not fill the stand with water and I just assumed he had done so; therefore our tree sat without water for over 8 hours. After we both realized the tree had no water we filled it up right away! It seems now to be drying out on the ends of the needles and does not seem to be drinking any water. I put my hand down in the stand to feel the stump and it was sticky with sap...could this be why the tree is not drinking water? what should we do? we have not decorated the tree yet, but were planning on doing it tomorrow. I will wait for your reply until we decorate! thank you for your time and help!

Well, generally it's best to get the cut surface of the tree's trunk into water within a 3 - 6 hour time. The reason is that air molecules get into the plant tissue and inhibit the plant's ability to absorb water and move it up the stem to the foliage. If you think it was much longer than that before you put water in the stand (unless it was outside in a cold/damp environment) I would take the critical step in making a fresh cut. That way you know for sure. After that, don't worry about the rate of water absorption as that will fluctuate...that's normal.

From: Nalini
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2010 1:26 PM
To: Rick Dungey
Subject: Re: Blog Talk Ideas

Hi Rick,
It was more than 3 to 6 hours before we got it into water! we will take your advice and make a fresh cut! Thank you for your quick reply and for helping us save our tree!!! I enjoyed reading your blog and you have been so helpful!!!

aww, shucks....

From: will
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:33 PM
Subject: Christmas Tree Question

About two weeks ago we purchased a Fraser Fur, I stored it in my unheated garage, and last week we put it up and decorated it. Prior to decorating it I cut about 1-1.5" off the bottom of the trunk. It was drank the water very quickly, near emptying the tree stand so everyday we add more water to top it up. Starting today when I checked it the water level had only dropped approximately 1" and the branches appears as though they are sagging more then before. Do you have any ideas on what I can do to "liven-up" the tree again? I would drill holes but the top of the base isn't that large to allow me clear access with a drill.

That tree is doing exactly what it’s supposed to. It absorbed water, the branches relaxed as it came out of a dormant state. The rate of water absorption will vary from day to day…that’s normal. That tree sounds perfect. Even if there were something wrong, drilling holes in the side won’t do anything. Read the November 30 blog entry for a technical explanation.

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