by Charlene Burgi
If “going green” this holiday season means buying a live tree, please take heed or you could be adding more to the landfill. Living trees brought indoors for the holidays require acclimation to warmer temperatures or they will go into shock. Move the tree into a sheltered area such as your garage for a few days before moving it indoors. Limit the tree’s “visit” to a maximum of seven days. Keep the tree away from any heat source, such as heating vents, fireplaces, etc. While indoors, use LED Christmas lights to reduce heat exposure on the foliage, and daily place about 20 ice cubes on the root ball to keep the tree moist. Reverse the above acclimating process by moving the tree back into the garage for a few days before moving it back outside.
If you are going to plant your tree in the ground after the holidays, check its potential growth. It is a tree and won’t stay small for long. Be certain you put it in an area where it has room to grow. If you decide to “set it free” in the wild, first get permission from the governing agency or property owner. They may not welcome a non-native to the area or desire to fill the caretaker role.
Keep holly and mistletoe out of the reach of children and pets while decorating the house. These plants can be fun and beautiful, but both are poisonous if ingested. Christmas cacti are colorful and safe, as are poinsettias.