Friday, December 18, 2009

Dayton "Dirt" - December 18, 2009

It seems so strange that it’s only one week until Christmas.

We still have a decent selection of Fraser Fir and Scotch Pine and as I stated before, they are all Ohio fresh! One of the box stores in Wadsworth had an advertisement for inexpensive (cheap) cut trees in which the ad states that the trees were fresh and shipped weekly to the store. I went to inspect these “bargains” and found they were not fresh at all but instead ready to burn!

I know before I would take a tree into my house like that I would put up an artificial.

We don’t have a cut-your-own operation of Christmas trees but if you really want to cut your own, I would recommend Galehouse Tree Farm in Doylestown as their name has been synonymous with Christmas trees for years and years.

It’s still not too late to take a soil test in your lawn or garden or the spread if you need it to raise the pH of the soil.

I’m very excited about showing off our new barn when those of you coming for seminars this winter will be able to see it. I think you’ll like everything about it but right now I don’t like the acoustics as the sound is bouncing off the wooden walls and ceilings.
I have to figure out a solution before the seminars begin (at least I hope to work out a solution)

If you come over to buy a cut tree we’ll be happy to put a fresh cut on the trunk if you’re going to put it up the same day.

We’re still making and delivering grave blankets and wreaths to local cemeteries until noon on Christmas Eve as long as the cemetery office is open in case I have trouble finding the grave site.

I must apologize that we sold out of many wreaths and white pine roping early in the season. When I called for a second, fresher batch of roping on December 3rd, the major supplier for all of Northeast Ohio stated they had sold out and that there would be no more!

Hopefully everyone has all the Christmas shopping done by now. I am “one of those” that waits until the last minute as I really don’t like to shop.

For unusual gifts, the Christkindl Market in downtown Akron is interesting as some of the vendors are from Akron’s sister city in Germany called Chemnitz where many family industries are busily making high quality Christmas ornaments as they have for generations.

Well, hope to see you soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dayton "Dirt" - December 11, 2009

It’s strange but there is a definite pattern to business that only changes slowly over the years.

Our cut Scotch Pine trees are beginning to sell now where as before, only our Fraser Firs were the hot sellers.

Unfortunately, we don’t have Concolor Fir and Douglas Fir this year as a severe frost in May killed the new growth on the trees.

The frosted growth is still hanging on the trees and doesn’t do anything for the saleability of these trees so that we decided to skip a year.

Its not too late to order an artificial or live wreath or grave blanket for delivery or pick up as we will still make and customize the decorations according to your specifications even up to and including Christmas Eve.

If you want one shipped to a distant locality though, it’s best to allow 5 business days.

One of the most beautiful poinsettias this year is called Ice Crystals in which the flower bracts are dark pink with a pale pink to white radiating from the midrib of the bract.

This variety seems to be a favorite of the Cleveland Botanical Garden this year as it is quite unusual as well as beautiful.

For those of you who want to keep a poinsettia from year to year, my advice to you is to throw the plant out unless you enjoy playing with it to get it to bloom next year.

I know that I would never mess with left over poinsettias the next year as to me it’s not worth the hassle.

Be sure not to let your cut tree run out of water as sometimes once a tree runs out of water, it won’t “drink” anymore.

If you haven’t covered your tea or floribunda roses yet, get with it as they do need winter protection.

As the snow falls and doesn’t leave the ground, hungry deer will be chomping on your shrubs such as Taxus, Rhododendron and certain deciduous shrubs so be sure to spray them with Liquid Fence as directed the next dry day that is above freezing.

We had a problem with deer in the Rhododendron-Azalea garden a few years back but the Liquid Fence product has kept them at bay.

It works too on the thousands of tulips at the nursery as were sure to apply the product just as the plants emerge in spring.

If you have deer in your area and have tulips emerging, one day the bulbs will be fine and the next morning they’ll be chomped to bits down to the ground so be sure to mark some required action on your gardening calendar or download our online calendar for your convenience.

Hope for snow!

Dayton "Dirt" - December 6, 2009

With the first week of December almost over, the Christmas season seems like its in full swing.

Cut tree buyers are looking for that elusive perfect tree but I always remind myself that a tree that looks “perfect” to me does not to someone else as all of us have our own particular idea of perfection or beauty.

In my opinion, if a cut Christmas tree is too thickly branched, it would look good out in the yard but not as a Christmas tree as ornaments will tend to lay on the tree instead of hanging.

An old-fashioned Christmas would have included handmade ornaments for the tree as well as a garland made from cranberries or popcorn strung together with a needle.

I can remember asking my parents for a Huffy bicycle made in Cleveland that I saw in the Kresge store in the Norton shopping center.

I asked my mother to look at the bicycle and I can still remember her asking me how much it cost to which I replied $19.95.

My mother said “My, that’s so expensive!”

Finally after two and one half years I received the bike as a Christmas present and I still have it!

Fraser Firs are still the favorite cut Christmas tree as they rarely shed needles and are easy to decorate with their soft pliable needles.

Colorado Spruce on the other hand are very sharp needled and generally don’t hold their needles as well.

In some University controlled tests, researchers concluded that the best way to keep your tree fresh is to use plain water.

In fact, many of the different tree preservatives tested actually hastened the deterioration of the tree.

It is important that you make a fresh cut in the trunk of your tree just before you place it in the stand which helps the tree to intake water.

Be sure you do not shave the outer bark from the tree if it won’t fit your stand as the tree for sure will not take up water.

It is best to have the right size stand for the particular tree size but I always liked a stand larger than recommended as it is much easier to stand a tree straight than one that has a crooked trunk.

I have already told you about the Cinco brand of tree stand as it does work extremely well especially when you have a tree with a crooked trunk.

With a Cinco stand, there is no need to upgrade to the next size up as this stand’s design has plenty of room available for adjustment.

As with the past years’, our trees are all from the State of Ohio because I can be sure of the freshness and not worry about the harvesting being done too early as many times it is with big operations farther north.

Happy tree hunting,