Most of this year is now history including the 2012 growing season for most crops. Most Okies are now starting to focus on Christmas and the end of this year. We can still plant container grown or balled and burlapped trees, shrubs, spring flowering bulbs and pansies. Most of our horticultural attention in this happy and joyful season is focused on Christmas trees, Christmas greens and poinsettias as we decorate and establish or carry on family traditions.
Christmas trees and Christmas greens have been used in many northern cultures for centuries as part of winter festivals long before they became important parts of our Christian Christmas celebrations.
In many cold northern cultures they reached a point of mid winter where they had survived many weeks or months of hard freezes, snow and ice and were tired of being shut up in their homes or shelters. It became important to cut branches or even whole bushes or trees of evergreens like pines, hollies or junipers to bring color, life and pleasant fresh scents into the winter home.
Over time, Christians adopted these symbols and activities as part of our holiday experiences and tradition. Although many have resorted to artificial trees or greens it is hard to match the experience of going to the woods, if you own your own woods, or visiting a Christmas tree farm and selecting and cutting your own fresh Christmas tree.
The family experience of doing this together can be a lifelong family memory. We have at least 5 nice Christmas tree farms in the metro area where you can cut or dig your own Christmas tree and many others around the state. If you don't have time to do the whole Christmas tree farm experience you can visit your local nursery or garden center to select a pre-dug living Christmas tree. Many nurseries also offer fresh cut trees or locate other Christmas tree lots in your neighborhood.
If you select a cut Christmas tree, you should make a fresh cut of the base stem as you put the tree in your Christmas tree stand, fill the stand with fresh water and you can add a Christmas tree preservative or polymer to help keep the cut tree hydrated. Make sure to check and refill the water every few days or as needed.
For living Christmas trees you hope to plant out in the yard after Christmas, you may want to shorten your tree season to 7 to 14 days to make sure not to dry the tree out too much or get it “too soft” in the warmer indoor temperatures. Make sure to keep the live tree watered.
Both the cut and live trees will benefit from an occasional misting or spritzing of the tree and even from some additional pans of water under the trees to evaporate around the tree and to keep up the humidity or moisture around the tree.
There is something special about fresh greens of needle or broadleaf evergreens used to decorate doors, mantels, doorways or tabletops when used as a rope, swag, wreaths or just loose boughs!
Fresh evergreen trimmings cut from your own yard or purchased at the local nursery adds life, color and energy to your Christmas home.
Few ways are better to say Merry Christmas than Christmas trees, fresh greens and poinsettias. We have an extra week of time between an early Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, let plants help you celebrate the holidays.
Rodd Moesel serves on the Oklahoma Horticulture Industrial Council and the Oklahoma State University agriculture dean's advisory committee. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers. Email garden and landscape questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.