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Christmas trees and the way they might look at you.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Christmas trees and the way they might look at you. Reply with quote

Lots of people are out buying Christmas trees over the next week and wondering how do you tell the differance betwen a pine , spruce or a fir tree.
I can be dificult to tell which is which unless you know a bit, all evergreen trees are not Christmas trees this time of year. but checking the needles on the tree and where they are located will help identify the different trees. If a twig bears needles in groups of two, three, or five, you can say it is a pine. If the twig carries its needles singly, itís a good bet its a fir or a spruce. Pull off a needle, and roll it between your fingers. If it feels flat and doesnít roll easily, itís a fir. If the needle has four sides and, thus, rolls easily between your fingers, itís a spruce. Cones can also help but are not a reliable method for identiifying them, Pine cone scales are woody while spruce cone scales are thinner and more flexible. Pine and spruce cones hang down while fir cones stand erect on tree branches. Also, both pine and spruce conesusually fall whole from the tree while fir cones break apart while on the tree.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good tips to ensure you are getting the tree you paid for, Greengage
I wrote a piece on Christmas trees for a local paper a while back which I have quoted below.
Folks might be able to eek out a bit of info from it also.....

Christmas is almost here. Have you put up your Christmas tree yet or are you like me, still trying to get around to it?
For most homes, the Christmas holidays wouldn't be complete without a tree festooned with its illuminations gracing the living room. Now, peoples taste in Christmas trees varies greatly as these holiday symbols come in all shapes and sizes, from the little artificial ones with shiny aluminium needles to the gigantic almost mature specimens that grace our town centres. To suit peoples tastes there are a wide variety of natural Christmas tree types available on the market.

The main species of Christmas trees grown and sold in Ireland are the Noble fir, lodgepole pine and Norway spruce.

The Noble fir (Abies procera) originally came from the Pacific North West of the USA, is symmetrical in shape with dense blue-green needles that expel a lovely pine fragrance. The needle-holding qualities of this Christmas tree are excellent even when let to dry out slightly.

Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), which originated in the North West of the USA, is aptly named having been used to build the Native American lodges. It also has a lovely pine scent and good needle retention qualities but is more conical in shape than the Noble Fir.

Finally we have the Norway spruce (Picea abies) which is the traditional Christmas tree but the increased use of the previous two species due to superior needle holding capabilities have relegated it to third place. It takes between 7 and 10 years for all these trees to reach their most popular sizes of 6ft and 7ft. While growing, they provide habitats for many forest animals and birds.

Whichever natural Christmas trees you opt to go for, simply hauling it home and plonking it in your sitting room is not all that is required for a prolonged Christmas focal point. Following a few easy preparation and maintenance tasks will allow your tree to continue fresh through to the New Year with its full allocation of needles intact.

When you return home with your Christmas tree, select a safe place to position it, preferably in corner where it is unlikely to be knocked over. Keeping it away from stoves and radiators will help to prolong its needles and lessen fire danger. It is natural and common for a conifer tree to accelerate the shedding of needles if they are allowed to dry out. So, using a small saw, cut about an inch off the bottom of the tree at a slight angle to create a fresh wound to aid water absorption. Next, the tree should be placed in a stand with a large reservoir of water. Check and water the tree as required 3 times daily, or you will need to buy another one next week.

Finally, be aware that for safety, Christmas tree lights should always be turned off at bedtime or when leaving for an extended period.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so you know, I tried a scots pine tree (they are seeding in a non-protected bog near me from a nearby plantation) so it was free!

Although the shape wasn't brilliant- a bit leggy- the tree itself has done really well. Hasn't shed a single needle yet and you get the lovely sound of the cones cracking open as the heat has convinced it that it is spring. Only watered it a couple of times, but it hasn't shown any ill effects at all at all.
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