Across the United States each holiday season, over 30 million real trees are harvested to spruce up our homes and help us celebrate this joyous time of year. Most of these trees are grown for this very purpose by thousands of private growers. Their hard work gives us the chance to keep up or to begin a wonderful family tradition.
Oklahoma Forestry Services encourages Oklahomans to support another of the state's agricultural industries by buying Oklahoma-grown trees for the holidays.
"There are many reasons why buying natural makes sense. This activity is a great family outing,” said State Forester, John Burwell. “Imagine the joy on a child's face when they actually help the family cut and bring home just the right tree."
This activity can help restore a connection with rural Oklahoma, a feeling many of us have lost in our urban society, he adds. It helps the economy. It creates a reason for landowners to plant more trees. Trees clean the air, produce oxygen, create wildlife habitat, control erosion and improve the view.
After choosing just the right tree, be sure to treat it correctly when you take it home. Cut off another inch of the stem and stand it in water immediately. Move it indoors when ready, but keep it watered at all times. Fresh trees may use up to a gallon a day. After the holidays, use the tree as backyard habitat by decorating it with peanut butter and bird seed pine cones. Shred and compost it for the garden or recycle it in your community. These projects extend the usefulness of your tree and conserve landfill space.
If you are considering a living Christmas tree to plant outdoors after the holidays, select a high quality tree from your local nursery. Keep it outside or in an unheated garage until just before Christmas. Keep it indoors for only a few days before moving it back outside. Extended exposure to warm, dry indoor air is hard on living trees. Keep the roots moist but not wet before and after planting.
For more information on where you can purchase an Oklahoma-grown Christmas tree or how to properly care for your tree once you get it home, go the Oklahoma Forestry Services website www.forestry.ok.gov/christmas-trees or contact the Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association at 405-527-5873 or at http://www.okchristmastrees.com/.
Posted on Mon, December 7, 2009
by Jack Carson, ODAFF (405-522-4575)