CO-Horts Blog

Friday, December 14, 2018

Oh Christmas Tree

You have seen my posts in past Christmases about how to pick out a tree and how live trees can actually help the environment.  In past years my family and I have purchased a Christmas tree permit and gone out into the forest and collected our Christmas tree.  We always try to pick one that is crowding another tree to give it some room.  This year the Every Kid in a Park initiative is giving tree permits to 4th graders for FREE.  What a fun way to get kids in the woods and create a family tradition.

I personally don't care if it is a perfect Christmas tree.  In fact I have memories of my Granddad "Poppy" bringing home a Charlie Brown Christmas tree from the mountains when I was a kid.  He liked space between the branches so the ornaments could actually hang.  Only recently has Grandma, who is 96, gotten a fake tree as we call them.

But this year I broke down and bought a tree instead of cutting our own.  My oldest is in college at CSU in Fort Collins and my youngest, who is now 17, was busy with Christmas community activities plus one Saturday there was actually snow accumulating on the mountain- and we still need the moisture.  So, off my daughter and I went in search of a tree.  We decide to support the Boy Scouts since her brother was an Eagle Scout and sold trees one year.  The profits go to help the kids go to camp.  Many of our kids would not go to camp without the support of fundraisers like selling trees.   We pulled up to see 2 moms and a bunch of boys and one little sister helping to sell the trees.  They had Fraser fir, grand fir and balsam fir. 

None of these fir trees are native to Colorado.  Colorado natives include subalpine fir and Douglas fir trees.  These can fall within cutting areas in the national forest.  Other species available for cutting in the wild yourself include Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine, pinon pine, rocky mtn junipers and perhaps others.  I like the firs as they are soft, have a nice scent, have a nice green color and I am not allergic to them like I am pine trees.  Here is a link to videos of most of our evergreen trees in Colorado. 

The Fraser's were a bit too skinny though I like the way the needles curl upward.  The grand and balsam both have very flat needles but the grand were truly grand and too wide for my small house.  The young boy scout that helped me was well acquainted to the different sizes and layout of the sales lot. So a balsam it was.  As we were pulling away, I spotted a sign about how fresh trees are good for the environment and I agree.  I always pick plant materials over plastics.

The Boy scouts had offered to cut off the end of the trunk for us, but I declined as I didn't know how long it would take us to get it into the house.  Once you cut the trunk, you want to get it into water as soon as possible so it doesn't seal over.  No one wants a tree that won't take up water as it drops needles and turns into a fire hazard.  Not the makings of a Merry Christmas.  So by the next night, my husband cut the tree and got it up.  Now I need to remember to check it daily for water.  It is amazing how fast they can absorb water.   There are formulas out there to keep your tree lasting longer, but I typically just use tap water.

So whether you have that "fake' tree, support a group by purchasing a tree or venture out into the wild and cut your own, with a permit of course, ENJOY your Christmas tree.  It seems like it is up for such a short time.  Merry Christmas.  Susan Carter, TRA Horticulture Agent

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