Recent "Ask Stewart" articles published in the Warren County Report
What can you tell us about the Christmas tree?
John in Front Royal
Merry Christmas John,
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in early modern Germany (where it is today called Weihnachtsbaum or Christbaum),
The tree was traditionally decorated with roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, and sweetmeats. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification.
The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first mention of the Christmas tree in American literature was in a story in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, titled "New Year's Day," by Catherine Maria Sedgwick, where she tells the story of a German maid decorating her mistress's tree.
The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. The term Charlie Brown Christmas Tree is now used to describe any poor- looking or malformed little tree, usually the last one to be sold.
Each year, 33 to 36 million Christmas trees are produced in America, and many people like to use live trees which can be planted. Here are some tips for a successful planting:
1. Limit the amount of time your tree is indoors -- 7-10 days is ideal. Daily watering is necessary to keeping your tree healthy.
2. Move your tree to a sheltered outdoor space to allow your tree to acclimate back to the cold. Continue watering it daily. Choose an open, sunny planting spot. Research the type of tree you have and its growth potential.
3. Dig the hole as early as possible in the season. If you’ve waited too long to dig and the ground is already frozen, try pouring boiling water onto the spot and then digging. Dig wide but not deep. Using a shovel, dig a hole twice as wide as the size of the root ball to give the roots a chance to spread. But don’t go any deeper than the height of the root ball.
4. Remove root ball coverings. Place the tree in the hole. Fill the hole back in. Tamp the soil gently, but don’t pack it in tightly. Stake your tree to keep it upright.
5.Water the newly planted tree. You do not need to use any sort of fertilizer – just plain water will do.
6. Mulch around the tree. Add a couple inches of mulch around the base of the tree as an insulating layer.
7. Monitor soil moisture. If your winter conditions are dry, occasionally water the tree to keep moisture near the roots.
Your Pal in the Trees, Stewart