Holidays are a time for seasonal horticulture

The 2010 growing season is now complete after several hard Oklahoma freezes. Most of the tree leaves have dropped and most of nature is hibernating for the winter. We enjoyed great celebrations of Thanksgiving and our many blessings. Now we all prepare for the season of Christmas and the chance to share those blessings, celebrations and love with our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Horticulture is a big part of this celebration with the poinsettia in its many colors and styles serving as the floral symbol of the holidays. The Christmas tree has long contributed it’s pleasant scent and graceful charm to the festivities. You can choose beautiful, full “cut” Christmas trees, farm raised and sheared to near perfection to help decorate your home, church or business. Remember to make a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree trunk when you take it home. Mount it in a tree stand that holds water to help keep the tree turgid. Check the water periodically as some will evaporate and the tree will “drink” most of it. The more water absorbed by the tree, the longer it will hold its needles and look festive for the holiday.

You could also select a living Christmas tree at your local nursery, grown in a container or balled and burlapped, ready to plant out in your yard after the holiday. The live trees will usually not be as impressive as the cut trees because of the different growing techniques and the growth habits of the species that are best adapted to grow outside after the holidays.

You should keep the living tree indoors for a shorter time like 10 – 14 days and definitely not over 3 weeks so they don’t get too dehydrated and adjusted to the warmer house temperatures where they suffer freeze damage when moved outdoors. Plant your live tree into the yard as soon as possible after Christmas. There is no better way to remember a Christmas than to plant the living Christmas tree in the yard to enjoy for years to come. Just as you need to water the live tree, even mist its boughs periodically, don’t forget to water it thoroughly after planting and to check on watering it regularly throughout the winter as it gets established.

Don’t forget that live greens have been a part of the Christmas celebration for years and still add to the festivities. Buy evergreen wreaths, rope or swags or cut some juniper, pine or holly branches from your own yard and make your own “live green” decorations for Christmas.

Don’t forget that gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in America and can provide many special gift opportunities. Consider giving a special plant or tree, garden tools, a garden center gift certificate, gardening books, gloves or garden clothes. Most gardeners would enjoy a membership in the Oklahoma Horticulture Society, a botanical garden, plant society or any of a million other neat gifts. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.



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