Monday, December 28, 2009

Annual Christmas Tree Recycling - January 9th

The Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO) is coordinating their annual tree recycling event in conjunction with Henderson County Parks and Recreation. Residents are encouraged to drop off their trees at Field 6 in Jackson Park. Hendersonville city residents may leave their trees at curbside, where they will be gathered and included in the recycling project.

Be sure to remove all lights and decorations before dropping your trees at the park. No wreaths, balled trees or greenery with wire will be accepted. Christmas trees will be chipped to make mulch on Jan. 9 at Jackson Park. Mulch created from the chipping will be given away free of charge, so bring a bag if you’re interested in taking some home.

Call the ECO office at 692-0385 for more information.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow......

As I write this post, there is 14" of snow in my front yard and the snow is still falling. I just love the snow but my plants can be damaged by severe winter weather. The large Southern Magnolia in my front yard has already had three limbs broken and the heavy, wet snow could do more damage before its all over. The boxwoods just in front of my house also look awful.
While it's true that heavy, wet snows and ice often cause broken branches, snow itself will not hurt landscape plants. In fact, the opposite is true. Snow is a very good insulator against chilling temperatures that may injure plants.
If you are concerned about injury to your favorite plants from the settling snow, protect them by scooping the snow away from the plant. Then, with gloved hands, carefully remove the snow from the branches. Natural snowfall or windblown snow seldom result in plant injury. It's usually the devices we use to remove snow that cause the most damage.
If snow is dumped on plants, it may be better to leave it than to try to remove it to prevent further breakage of the branches. If you do have branches break out of trees and shrubs, be sure to prune the broken limbs as soon as possible after the storm has passed.
For more information, call your local extension agent.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bring the Outside Inside for the Holidays

Many different kinds of greenery can be used for holiday decorations. Pines, firs and cedars are good to use for indoor decoration since they dry out slowly and hold their needles best at warm interior temperatures. They may last for several weeks if properly treated and cared for. Hemlock, spruces and most broadleaf evergreens will last longer if used outdoors.

Below are some suggested varieties to use in holiday decorating.

White Pine: This soft, bluish-green, long-needled pine has excellent needle retention but wilts visibly if dry.

Virginia Pine: This native pine has shorter, coarser needles, and is long-lasting, with excellent needle retention.

Junipers: Fragrant, short, green or silver-blue foliage that may be adorned with small blue berries. The needles are often sticky.

Firs: All firs have wonderful scent and good tolerance of hot, dry indoor conditions. The needles are short and flat with excellent color and needle retention. Fraser fir wreaths and swags are commonly available from commercial sources.

Spruce: Wreaths are the main use for spruce greens. The branches are stiff with short, sharp needles. Blue spruce is especially attractive because of its color, and it holds its needles better than other spruce. Needle retention is poorer on spruce than on other conifer greens.

Ivy: This vigorous vine is readily available in many yards. It makes an excellent green for holiday arrangements. The cut ends must be kept in water, or the ivy will quickly wilt.

Holly: This most traditional holiday green comes in several forms, both green and variegated. Female plants display bright red berries. Make sure that holly does not freeze after cutting, or the leaves and berries may blacken.

Mountain Laurel: This is a traditional evergreen in the South for wreaths and garlands. As with other broad-leaved evergreens, however, laurel holds up best when used outdoors.

Magnolia: The large leaves are a glossy, dark green that contrast well with the velvety, brown undersides. Magnolia leaves make stunning wreaths and bases for large decorations. The leaves hold up very well even without water.

Some other excellent evergreens that can be used for holiday greenery include:

* Arborvitae
* Ligustrum
* Pittosporum
* Podocarpus
* Viburnum
* Leyland Cypress
* Nandina
* Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
* Hemlock

However you choose to decorate this holiday season, be safe and have a Merry Christmas.

Parts taken from Decorating with Holiday Greenery, Clemson Cooperative Extension

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Bullington Center has beautiful amaryllis with lily-like flowers for you to purchase this Holiday Season. The amaryllis makes a great gift for friends and loved-ones.

When used as a potted plant for a special occasion, the amaryllis provides spectacular flower colors and effects. They come in a wide range of flower colors from red, pink and white to combinations of these.

The bulbs for sale at the Bullington Center are red and a nice shade of pink.
When properly handled and cared for properly, an amaryllis bulb may produce flowers for up to 75 years. Good quality bulbs of named varieties may produce up to six flowers on a single stalk.

The bulbs will be for sale at Bullington through December 18th. For more information, call 698-6104.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advantages of Real Christmas Trees

This morning I walked into the Extension office to the aroma of a freshly cut Christmas tree, selected from a local grower. This year our commercial agent selected a Concolor Fir, Abies concolor. This hard to find attractive tree has needles that are longer and spaced further apart than those on the Fraser Fir. Michael Dirr calls this tree the most handsome of all firs. Which ever tree you choose this Holiday Season, just remember this list of reasons to buy local and living trees.

- Real Christmas trees are plantation grown on American family farms, making an important economic contribution to many rural communities in the United States.
- Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful “greenhouse” gases and release fresh oxygen into the air.
- A Real Christmas tree has a fragrance beyond compare.
- One acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.
- Real Christmas trees are an all-American renewable, recyclable resource. After the holidays, Real trees are chipped into biodegradable mulch, which replenishes soil in landscapes, parks, and schools.
- Real Christmas trees can be used as a feeding station and winter shelter for songbirds in your yard.
- The safest Christmas tree is a fresh, well-watered tree. A Real tree has never started a fire. Faulty Christmas lights, candles, and fireplaces can start tree fires.