While artificial trees are certainly more of the norm these days, there is a growing trend of people choosing authentic Christmas trees to decorate their home during the holiday season. Artificial trees certainly have their advantages, the experience of cutting your own tree or the fragrance a real one provides can add a great deal of festivity to any home. If you are new to purchasing a real tree, Purdue Extension has a few excellent resources to help you out along the way. Publications FNR-423-W (Tips for First Time Buyers of Real Christmas Trees) and FNR-422-W (Selecting an Indiana Grown Christmas Tree), which are both available for free on the web or by contacting the County Extension Office, are great places to start. FNR-422-W highlights several of the pros and cons of different varieties of trees, noting the differences between fragrance, needle retention, and branch stiffness among other things. While these tree attributes are a matter of preference, proper tree care should be universal, especially if you are hoping to enjoy your tree from Thanksgiving till the New Year.
You can help preserve your tree by putting it up quickly after taking it home. You may have to cut a half inch off the bottom of the trunk if it has been more than 6 to 8 hours from when you cut it to when you put it in water. This is due to the exposed cells trying to heal the open wound and sealing themselves off. You may also need to re-cut the stem if your tree runs out of water. Once you re-cut the tree and place it in the water, it will be able to absorb water again. Your tree stand should be big enough to hold 1 quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter. This helps during the first week or two when the tree requires more water. Use only cool water to fill your stand; additives or fertilizers are not necessary to preserve the tree once it has been cut. Also, make sure to keep your tree away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, heat vents, and even ornament lights that produce heat because it may dry the tree out faster, or become a fire hazard.
White County Farm Service Agency Update
A few announcements from the Farm Service Agency (FSA): the deadline to certify small grains such as wheat and rye is December 15th. Also, the deadline to enroll in the Market Facilitation Program, which provides payments to producers of: corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybean, and wheat; who are negatively affected by ongoing trade negotiations is January 15th, 2019. If you have any changes to your operation for 2019, such as picking up land or changing to a trust or LLC, please contact the FSA to make those updates. Lastly, enrollment for the 2019 season is taking place, please contact the FSA at 574-583-7622 to enroll.