Category: Seasons

Water your Christmas tree

Want to make your indoor Christmas tree hold onto its needles as long as possible? Water is the key. Water your Christmas tree as soon as you get it home, when you place it in a stand, and daily thereafter.

Christmas tree lot at Staehly Tree Farm, East Haddam, CT.

Christmas tree lot at Staehly Tree Farm inEast Haddam, CT.

Here’s how to care for and water your Christmas tree to make it last through the holidays:

  • Whether cut fresh or purchased pre-cut, trees need water daily – as much as a quart for every inch of trunk diameter. Do the math: a tree with a 3″ diameter trunk can drink up 3 quarts of water daily; one 4″ needs 4 quarts, and so forth.
  • Fresh cut trees should be placed in a bucket of water as soon as they come home. Pre-cut trees need an additional step – cutting about 1″ from the trunk parallel to the ground when upright – to allow the tree to take up water.
  • Avoid bruising the cut end and keep it completely submerged in water until ready to bring indoors.
  • Prior to bringing indoors, cut the trunk end again. Secure the tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least a gallon of water.
  • Once secured in the stand, fill the reservoir with water.
  • Check water levels daily, making sure the cut end is always submerged in water. I water our tree every morning while the coffee brews.

Why be so concerned about keeping the cut end submerged? If permitted to dry, the cut end will form a resin seal that prevents further water uptake. No water equals dry needles – a true hassle and serious fire risk.

A well watered tree is more likely to hold its needles through the holidays.

A well-watered tree is more likely to hold its needles through the holidays.

We have used the above methods for decades, with great success. Other tips to lead to a safer, better hydrated Christmas tree include:

  • cutting one fresh if possible,
  • holding off till mid-December to bring the tree indoors,
  • using low-heat producing lights,
  • keeping the tree from heating sources and vents,
  • and taking it down shortly after the holidays.

You can read more tips on how to treat and water your Christmas tree from the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, but these basic steps will help keep your tree fresh.

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Lilacs, dogwood, and other May blossoms

May fills Connecticut gardens with all sorts of flowers and scents. Early morning is a wonderful time to wander through the gardens, camera in hand, to observe May blossoms.

White lilac flower buds survived the freezing temperatures that hit after they formed. Now they strut their stuff, spreading a delicate fragrance nearby. Yesterday it attracted a swallowtail butterfly and a hummingbird.

White lilac, May 11, 2016

White lilac, May 11, 2016

This low bush blueberry – or is it a huckleberry, it’s hard for even seasoned botanists to say – was here when we cleared our property nearly 20 years ago. We worked around this native shrub and it has become a feature of the front yard gardens. Pollinating flies spend most of their days visiting its May blossoms.

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

The pink dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’) is in full bloom … striking against a clear blue sky.

Cornus florida 'Rubra' aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Cornus florida ‘Rubra’ aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Scillia/Spanish Bluebells, aka Hyancinthoides hyspanica ‘Dainty Maid’ just opened, adding more colorful May blossoms to the ground level. They pick up where waning daffodils leave off.

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Dainty Maid', May 11, 2016

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Dainty Maid’, May 11, 2016

One of a pair of blue containers filled with the SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’.

SunSparkler sedum 'Lime Zinger'

SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’

I had this sedum in one large container last summer. Rather than lose it, I planted it in the ground last fall. When it emerged and temperatures warmed enough to safely place containers back outside, I dug and divided the sedum to fill the two pots … definitely worth the effort to have the pots looking full this early at no additional cost to the budget.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Joene Hendry