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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools: 2
Is there such a thing as a certified organic Christmas tree? If so, where might I find one?
The Washington Department of Agriculture has a list of certified organic producers (current as of 4/17/2014) and on this list I found farms which have carried organic Christmas trees in the past if not currently:
Blue Heron Farm in Rockport, WA
Riversong Farm in Mt. Vernon, WA
Fall City Farms states on their website that, while not certified, they grow their trees using organic practices.
Washington State University's Farm Finder describes this farm as follows:
"They practice ecologically-sound farming and sustainable agriculture and serve as an agricultural education and culinary resource."
The Farm Finder lists a number of other farms which carry "claimed ecologically sound" Christmas trees. The only other farm in King County is Carpinito Brothers in Kent. (There are other farms in other counties.)
In Oregon, there are two types of organic certification, described in this Oregon Public Broadcasting feature:
SERF (Socially and Environmentally Responsible Farm) and Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers certification.
This New York Times article, "How Green Can a Christmas Tree Be," by Annie Raver (12/3/2008) mentions there is a certification called "Certified Naturally Grown" for Christmas trees in 47 states.
Another option, if you have the space in your garden, is to buy a living tree from an organic nursery and then plant it.
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Garden Tool: Before you send your Christmas tree away to be chipped for mulch, consider how the tree can be used in your own garden. Cut the branches off the main trunk to place around plants or emerging bulbs that could use extra frost protection. The main trunk could then be used as a stout stake for annual vines planted in the spring. Another idea is to use it as a temporary bird feeding station. Tie on orange slices, suet balls, peanut butter and birdseed smeared pine cones and then stand back and watch the feeding frenzy.
Season: All Season
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Caring for a living Christmas tree takes more work, but the reward is the satisfaction of planting a beautiful, long-lived conifer. Here are some guidelines for easing the transition from nursery to your home, and finally into the garden:
- Don't keep the tree inside longer than seven days.
- Keep it well watered, but not soaking wet. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap place it on top of gravel in a bucket so that it doesn't sit in water.
- Keep the room inside as cool as can be tolerated.
- Gradually reintroduce the tree to cold temperatures by placing it in an unheated garage for a week or two.
- When you're ready to plant it (and the ground isn't frozen) dig the hole the same depth as the root ball, and twice as wide. Don't add anything to the soil. Remember to water it for at least the next two summers.
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January 13 2017 10:35:53