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Correll: ‘Real’ Christmas tree care, selection

dfox • Dec 9, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Real trees are a renewable and recyclable resource. On an average it takes 6-7 years for a typical tree to reach the most desirable height of 6-7 feet.

According to Wayne Clatterbuck, a professor of forest management with University of Tennessee Extension, the most popular Christmas trees grown in Tennessee are Virginia pine, eastern white pine, eastern red cedar, Fraser fir and Scotch pine. These and many other trees imported from other states are available in retail locations. He offers the following tips to consumers on choosing and maintaining a fresh cut Christmas tree: 

1. Select a tree that is appropriate for the space available. Measure the dimensions of your space. Don’t forget the ceiling height

2. Local growers will have the freshest tree. For a directory of Christmas tree growers, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture website: picktnproducts.org/Flowers_trees/

3. Trees in Christmas tree lots may have been cut 4 to 6 weeks before they appear on the lot. Make sure to test the tree for freshness by placing a branch between the thumb and forefinger of your hand. Pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. The needles should bend but not break, and adhere to the branch. If they fall off in your hand, the tree may not be fresh enough. A second test is to lift the tree a few inches off the ground and drop it on the stump end. Some interior brown needles should fall, but if green needles fall in abundance, find another tree.

4. Keep your tree fresh. Cut one-half to 1 inch off of the bottom of the trunk and immediately place the stump end in water. Keep water in the tree stand at all times. A cut tree can absorb 2 or 3 quarts of water the first day indoors. If the base of the tree dries out, sap from the tree will form a seal that will not allow water absorption. Water additives to enhance the “freshness” of the tree are not recommended. Only use clean water in your tree stand.

5. The tree should be placed in a cool area. Keep your tree away from fireplaces, heat registers, radiators, heaters and televisions.

Overloaded electric outlets and faulty wires are the most common causes of holiday fires in residences - these types of fires can be just as dangerous with an artificial tree as with a real tree. Before tree decoration begins, it is important to inspect your Christmas tree lights for broken insulation or faulty sockets each year. Another safety tip is to always unplug tree lights when you are away from home and before you go to bed.

Agricultural Market Summary

Cattle Market Trends

Calf prices and market cows and bull had another week of lower prices. Feeder steers $4 to $5 lower, $122-$235; Feeder heifers $2 to $3 lower, $104-$206; Slaughter cows steady to $1 lower, $57-75.50; Slaughter bulls $5 to $9 lower, $86-$101.

Grain Market Trends

Corn, soybeans and wheat were up for the week. Corn: Cash price, $3.50-$3.92. March futures closed at $3.81 a bushel, up 14 cents Soybeans: Cash price, $8.71-$9.28. January futures closed at $9.06 a bushel, up 33 cents. Wheat: Cash price, $4.57-$4.68. March futures closed at $4.84 a bushel, up 5 cents. 

For additional information on these and other topics, contact the UT Extension Office, 925 East Baddour Parkway, Lebanon, TN 37087, 615-444-9584 or acorrell@utk.edu. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in all programs. Visit the UT/TSU Extension webpage at utextension.tennessee.edu/wilson or look for UT & TSU Extension, Wilson County on Facebook.

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