Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > December 2015 > GARDEN TALK with DOUG - CHRISTMAS TREES / FUN FACTS AND FUN FOLKLORE


I want to first recognize Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association for much of the information that I am about to share with you in this blog.  Maybe you didn’t even know Virginia had a Christmas Tree Growers Association.  It is an active association with many growers being members.  We have over 4,600 acres in Virginia being used to grow Christmas trees.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture Virginia is # 9 in the U.S. by number of operations with Christmas trees and # 6 by total trees harvested and total acreage.
                Live Christmas trees have been brought into homes and decorated during the holiday season for hundreds of years.
                This year, the VCTGA members will be donating over 1,000 Christmas trees to the Trees for Troops program for military families on military bases in Virginia.
                Here are some more fun facts:
  1.  The use of a Christmas tree in our homes come from Germany.  Germans and Hessian mercenaries were paid to fight in our Revolutionary War.  In 1804 U. S. soldiers stationed at Fort Dearborn (now Chicago) hauled trees from surrounding woods to their barracks at Christmas.  The popularity of the Christmas tree then spread over America.  Charles Minnegrode introduced the custom of decorating trees in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1842.
  2. Franklin Pierce, our 14th President, brought the Christmas tree tradition to the White House.
  3. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.
  4. Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented a beautiful, fresh, Christmas tree to the President and first family.  This tree is displayed each year in the Blue Room of the White House.
So, as we begin to select our personal Christmas tree, I hope many of you enjoyed learning a little history with the origin of the Christmas tree. 
Now, here are a few important care trips to help keep your prized Christmas tree fresh throughout the holiday season.
  1.  Check the tree for freshness.  The foliage of a pre-cut tree should be flexible when the needle is bent. 
  2. As soon as you get your tree home, make a fresh straight ¼ inch cut across the base of the trunk and place it in a bucket of water.
3.Use a tree stand that will hold a gallon or more of water.  Be sure to add TREE LIFE or PROLONG to the water each time.  These products help to keep the cut Christmas tree fresh for a longer period.
4.Do not place the tree near a source of heat.
5.Make sure light cords are in good working order and are turned off when you go to bed or leave the house.
Living Christmas trees are one way we can support agriculture in Virginia.
After the season, Christmas trees can be re-cycled as kindling, firewood, mulch, or placed in ponds for fish habitat.
Chesterfield County has a free recycling program for all used Christmas trees.  Chesterfield County residents can recycle their Christmas trees FREE through Sunday, January 31, 2016.  Northern Chesterfield residents will go to 3200 Warbro Road (off of Hull Street or off Genito Road).  Southern Chesterfield County residents will go to 6700 Landfill Road (off of Ironbridge Road).  I am sure other counties throughout Virginia have similar programs.
Posted: 12/16/2015 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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