14December 7, 2011

Many of you will have been out buying balsam wreaths and balsam branches (also called greens in the trade) for decorating your home or business. You may have noticed that some of the greens may look dry. The reason for this has been the weather that we have had has been the same weather up north where the balsam greens have been harvested. In order for the greens to hold onto their needles, the greens need to be exposed to several days of below freezing temperatures. These cold temperatures cause the greens to go dormant. Once the greens go dormant, the needles tend to stay on the branches if the temperatures stay cold. The problem has been that, in some cases, the greens were harvested before the temperatures were below freezing. Parts of Canada and Northern New England, where the greens were harvested, experienced temperatures well into the 60’s even into November. Temperatures have dropped now, but the companies that waited to harvest are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for greens and wreaths.

If you are buying a balsam Christmas tree, it is very important that you keep the tree hydrated. Once the tree gets into the house and is exposed to warmer temperatures, the tree will take up a lot of water. It can only take up water if there is a fresh cut made on the bottom of the trunk before the tree is placed in the stand. The stand should be of sufficient capacity to allow plenty of water for your tree. Initially, you should check the water level of the stand twice a day. Trees will take up more water when they are first set up in the house. Once the tree “settles in” the water level should be checked at least once a day. You should always make sure that the stand is filled to capacity each time you add water. If you do not do this and the water level falls below the base of the trunk, the trunk will seal it self off and the only way you will be able to get the tree to take up water again is to take the tree out of the stand and make a new cut on the bottom of the trunk. If the tree is up and decorated, this definitely will cause you to say bad words as you try not to knock the lights and ornaments off the tree.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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