December 5, 2012
Where are all the red berries? This has been a common question from all the people who use the red berries, also called winterberry. The berries are often found on the edges of marshy or other wet areas. Last year, there was a huge amount of the berries. This year, there are very few of the berries. I think the reason is multifold. If you remember back to late last winter, we had warm weather and there was a lot of concern that a frost might kill the flowers on the apple trees. In some areas, the warm weather was followed by cold weather and the apple flowers were killed. In our area, the flowers on the winterberry were exposed to that warm weather followed by cold weather and the flowers were killed. Not all of the plants lost their flowers. Many plants were spared the frost. However, at the critical time of flowering, the bees may not have been able to get out and pollinate the flowers. A drier summer also meant that the berries didn’t get the water that they needed to grow to a mature crop. I guess ultimately that it all goes back to the weather. I found some berries from one of our wholesalers in Boston, but the supply is pretty tight. If you want berries for decorating, you had best grab them soon.
This weekend is usually the big weekend for buying a Christmas tree. When you buy your tree, remember that you need to cut about an inch off the bottom of the tree. This fresh cut allows the tree to take up water. Once you get the tree in the stand, make sure to fill the stand and keep that stand full of water. Trees usually take up a lot of water the first few days the trees are in the house. It is advisable to check the water level twice a day and to add water as needed. If the tree drains the water out of the stand, the bottom of the tree seals off and you will need to put a new cut on the bottom of the trunk in order for the tree to take up water again. Imagine how much fun it will be to take a fully decorated tree out of the stand and then make a new cut on the bottom of the trunk! As I said, make sure to keep that stand full of water!
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.