Gardener's Grapevine 2012.12.19

Written by David Green.

Once again Sunday afternoon finds me in the living room. Not because I’m wrapping gifts or watching a movie, because I need to get this column out and the La-Z-Boy is there.

I became blessed this week with a raging sinus infection, thanks, I believe, to this crazy up and down weather. While sitting here trying to decide what to write this article on, I was looking at the Christmas tree and thinking about what a beautiful thing it is. We chose a scotch pine this year and it is very symmetrical. It amazes me how a tree so perfect can end up as our Christmas tree, and maybe it was a sin to cut it down. I go through this emotional bantering with myself every year, mostly because of my unending love of nature. In the end I always come to the same conclusion, that this tree was planted with the purpose of being someone’s Christmas tree and if not us then someone else would have cut it.

Art and I have thrown around the idea of having a Christmas tree farm for many years, and the people we purchase from have talked to us about it. There is a ton of work that goes into it. First, is research in knowing what trees sell the best, how many trees of each kind you will sell yearly on average and what the going rate is.

With all the statistics aside, there is a ton of work going to be done to get these trees in a position to be purchased. They start out as seedlings and are purchased in bulk at a price of $2 to $5 a piece, depending on the variety of the tree. Then they need to be planted. That’s not a bad job if it’s just one seedling, but try 2,500 seedlings.

The place we go to does not remove stumps, they cut them down to ground level and let them rot so as to renew the soil and feed the new seedlings. Once planted, the seedlings need to be fertilized, watered if it is a dry spell and weeds and anything else that can change a tree’s growth pattern must be kept cleared away. No one wants to pick a tree with a huge length of poison ivy growing in it! Then twice a year all the trees need pruned to keep a Christmas tree shape. Lastly, you must maintain the walking paths and be there selling the trees  from Thanksgiving through Christmas eve. 

While a Christmas tree farm sounds like a nice little sideline, it is a full time job that would include the entire family and much of everyone’s time. It’s something to ponder if this interests you and something to appreciate when that big beautiful tree is standing proudly in your living or family room.

On the topic of Christmas trees, I have a little story to share. My daughter and son-in-law purchased a little three-foot live tree this year and my daughter fretted  all the way home about what to do with her beloved cat “Rosie” and the tree.

“Mom I know she’s gonna climb it or knock it over!” I heard repeatedly on the way home from the tree farm.

“Well, sweetie, just throw her in it once it’s in it’s stand,” was my reply. “She’ll leave it alone once it bites her.” 

Of course her come back was, “I can’t do that! It will frighten her.” “Then she’ll leave it alone,” I said.

I figured it’d never happen and she’d have many episodes of broken bulbs. A week or so later my daughter said to me, “We threw the cat in the tree like you said and she won’t go near it!”

Wow! I guess mom knows something after all. It only took 27 years for her to admit it, even if it was indirectly.

Merry Christmas all and thanks for reading the column this past year.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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