Happy Holly Daze

It’s time to deck the halls and yard in a festive flurry as we all test our holiday design skills squeezed into our already busy daily schedules….sounds like fun huh? I call it “Holly Daze” and you suddenly discover you’re in the thick of it when standing on an aluminum ladder in the dark holding a ball of lights and an extension cord.Auld Lang Pine You Auld Lang “Pine” for some help navigating the hap…happiest of holidays. Here are some “Holly Daze” pointers to help you through this “most wonderful time of the year.” Rick’s Six so to speak…….

1) Measure the area in your home where your tree will go before going to shop for your tree. Then take the tape measure along with you when going to get the tree. Make a fresh cut at the base of the tree and immediately plunge it into fresh water. Place a ping pong ball or fishing bobber in the bowl of the tree stand so you can see at a glance the water level. Maintain a sufficient water level in the tree stand at all times.stack of trees

2) In our area tying the tree to the top of the family sleigh is legal. You are however responsible to securely tie the tree. How many of us have cringed observing the vehicle on the expressway with a mattress tied to the top of the car? Place the tree with the trunk or butt or handle facing the front of the car, not the top facing the front. Think aerodynamics. It is your responsibility to prevent driving with a load that is “dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing off or shifting” for both your safety and the safety of others on the road.

3) If you light up the exterior of your home, it is generally considered neighborly practice to unplug the lights at night when you go to bed.Christmas lights This is particularly true if you have thousands of blinking lights and a 15 foot tall inflatable Santa in the front yard.

4) Christmas greens add fragrance, style and drama to your entry areas. Fresh green roping, wreaths and boughs are the perfect welcome to visitors arriving on your doorstep. Consider using an anti-dessicant spray like Wilt Stop to your greens to keep them fresh. A biodegradable pine resin spray can keep those greens looking fresh all the way to Valentine’s day if you choose to keep them up that long.blog porch pots With the popularity of container gardening, have some Porch Pots on the front steps to add to the holiday cheer. Some evergreen boughs, some clippings from the landscape and some ornamentation will make for a container of Christmas cheer.

5) Speaking of Christmas cheer, don’t drink and decorate. The Christmas spirits will cause you to think your presentation is beautiful but may be just the opposite to your audience…..those who drive by your house. glass of wineBesides it would be downright dangerous to drink and climb around on ladders with extension cords in your hands. Decorate like you drive…..and while you’re at it, wait with texting until the halls are decked.

6) Christmas is for kids but don’t use them for design or style advice. More can be tacky. Try repetition of a style or color. It ties the display together, gives it “reason” and is far more stylish than clutter.

It's over....call it a day....sorry that it had to end this way
It’s over….call it a day….sorry that it had to end this way

Happy Holly Daze! Before you know it as Johnny Mathis would sing…..it’s over….call it a day….sorry that it had to end this way…..

Fraser Fir

“Hoe, Hoe, Hoe”……..After a very hot and dry summer……thought you might like a peek at Christmas Tree Hill in North Carolina. Took this picture of Fraser Fir getting ready to be harvested for the Christmas season……will be here before you know it!

Fraser Fir growing on Christmas tree hill

Make your Christmas “Greens” come true!

When it comes to your Christmas tree it’s not much different than a tree in your landscape…..it needs “re-hydration” when nature calls so to speak. Foliage or in this case needles transpire like people perspire when things warm up. In the case of an evergreen they’ll transpire indoors when you turn up the heat.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Due to a decrease in hydrostatic water pressure in the needles as they transpire the tree “pulls” water upward through the xylem to re-hydrate the tree. The same applies to trees and plants in your landscape. The big difference of course is that the Christmas tree in your living room has no roots to reach out.

You have to reach out and provide the water to your tree so the “FMC” does not drop to unacceptable levels at which point “yule” have to reach for a vacuum cleaner. FMC is Foliage Moisture Content. Make a fresh cut on the bottom of Christmas tree and immediately place it in water. When you get a wound your body begins to clot and scab the wound naturally. The tree does the same with sap at the cut which in turn inhibits or cuts off moisture flow through the tree.

When the “FMC” drops below 25% needles will drop and the tree may no longer draw water even though it is sitting in water. The greater the water pickup results in higher foliage moisture content which also provides the best ignition resistance.

Go Green!

Trees with a high “FMC” tend to self-extinguish versus a dry tree with low “FMC” can go up like a torch if subjected to an ignition source. Light up your holidays the right way and get long lasting fragrance and beauty from your tree by making a fresh cut, put the tree immediately in water and keep the water bowl full until you remove the tree after the holidays. Placing a fishing bobber or ping pong ball in the water will help you see at a glance the water level in the bowl. Pay attention to your tree’s “FMC” and it will make all your Christmas “Greens” come true!

How lovely are your branches……..

Right now the Christmas Tree takes center stage in the home. It’s branches lovely with lights, decorations and tinsel. In a few weeks when it’s all over you’ll be faced with what to do with the old Tannenbaum…..here’s a great video of one possible option…….A Yuletide rocket could make your holidays a blast!

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/christmas-tree-rocketry/6257ec6f636263749e226257ec6f636263749e22-280340463882?q=christmas+tree+rocket&FROM=LKVR5&GT1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR1