Jeff Green | Dec 15, 2005
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ChristmasEditionDecember 15, 2005
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O Tannenbaumby Peter Zorzella
Christmas trees. Many insist that a real tree is the only way to go whether you cut your own or go to the corner lot to buy one. Ontario’s Christmas tree farmers would agree.
Christmas trees take between eight and twelve years to grow from foot-high seedlings into the six-to-seven foot trees that we enjoy at Christmas. Farmers prune and shear the trees annually, to improve density and shape. We grow six varieties of Christmas trees in Ontario: White Pine, White Spruce, Scots Pine, Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, and Fraser Fir. Farmers plant different species to provide variety for their customers, spread out the pruning work as different varieties are pruned at different times, and make their crops less susceptible to widespread damage by a single pest.
Christmas tree farming is environmentally beneficial. Each acre of trees converts enough carbon dioxide into oxygen to support eighteen people and removes up to thirteen tons of airborne pollutants per year. The trees provide wildlife habitat, and are often grown on land unsuitable for other crops, a good use of marginal land that helps prevent erosion.
Farmers harvest trees beginning in November, wrap them and ship them to distributors or exporters. Ontario farmers export Christmas trees to the US, Mexico, and even the Caribbean, and we have been steadily increasing production and export of Christmas trees. Unlike most other crops, unsold (uncut) trees can be held over until the following season, so careful planning of cutting pays off.
Christmas Tree Care.
It is imperative that your Christmas tree always has a constant water source to keep your tree fresh, hydrated and help aid in needle retention. Once you have your tree home, just prior to set up, remove the bottom inch from your tree to allow for uptake of water. Your tree stand should hold a minimum of 2 gallons of water. Never allow the water line to fall below the bottom of the cut stem, if this is allowed to happen, the bottom cut line will seal over with sap and will be unable to take up water as readily. Week one, add water morning and night to keep water bowl full, after that add water daily and maintain your water level to the top of the water bowl.
This feature was produced with the assistance of the Agricultural Adaptation Council and Kemptville College, University of Guelph