The smell of fresh greenery is a part of Christmas. A great place to find that greenery could be found in your own landscape making a great holiday season DIY. These can be used to create: wreaths, garlands, wags, topiaries, mini trees and decorative hanging balls.
- Collecting greenery means that you will be pruning your plants. Follow proper pruning techniques including: making the cut close to the conjoining branch, choose branches carefully so as to not leave bare areas, and use clean sharpened equipment.
- Other items from your landscape can also be used such as: pinecones, acorns, berries, seed pods, rose hips, twigs/ branches, and chestnuts. Pinecones can be lacquered to prevent seed release.
- Be cautious of berries selected as many are poisonous to children and pets including: mistletoe (extremely toxic), holly, yew, ivy, bittersweet, and Jerusalem cherry.
Recommended plant varieties:
- White Pine: Soft, long-needled, needs regular watering.
- Virginia Pine: Coarse, short needled, high needle retention, long-lasting. high moisture retention
- Juniper: Fragrant, short needled, sticky, high needle retention,.
- Cedar family (Deodar Cedar, Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedar of Lebanon): Fragrant, short needled, high moisture retention
- Fir: Fragrant, short needled, high moisture retention and high needle retention.
- Hemlocks: last longer outdoors, low needle retention, soft needles.
- Spruces: last longer outdoors, low needle retention, sharp needles. (Blue spruce has moderate needle retention.)
- Holly: broad leaf, do not allow freezing, requires regular watering.
- English Ivy: Broad leaf, requires regular watering.
- Boxwood: fragrant, small leafed.
- Magnolia: High water retention, broad leaf.
My new favorite Christmas tradition is that of a using a live tree you can plant in the ground after you use it. Planting in the winter is possible but requires certain steps to insure it is still living in the spring.
- Determine where the tree will be placed in the landscape based on mature height and width estimates and dig the hole in advance to avoid a frozen soil.
- Your tree will need to acclimatize to the weather. Place the tree in the coldest area of your house during the holidays, then allow the tree to live in your garage for two weeks to transition the tree to the freezing outdoor temperatures.
- The tree still needs water even though it is winter. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- When it is ready to be planted use basic tree planting recommendations. Such as: The root flare (where the roots begin to flare out at the base of the tree) should be level with the ground or slightly above. If there is a cage it should be removed, along with any burlap surrounding the roots. Avoid buying trees where the roots are girdling/circling the trunk. If there are, be sure to cut the roots from circling and pull each root in opposite direction. Be sure not to cut too much of the roots no more than 1/3. Mulch around the tree to help keep moisture in, but do not cover root flare.
You can also attempt to root a clipping from a cut Christmas tree to be planted in the landscape in the spring. To do this take a small section of a branch and dip the cut end in rooting hormone and then plant it into a soil filled pot. Keep the soil moist and keep the plant indoors until after the last frost. For best results take cutting from the tree as soon as you bring it home. A dried out Christmas tree will not have success.
At this time of year we are deciding where to place our blow up Snowman, LED deer figures, and Christmas lights around our homes and trees. With this there are things to consider concerning the health of our landscapes.
- Be sure that you have enough power from your outlets to avoid a flipped breaker.
- Use small bulb lights for outdoor applications (Large bulbs produce more heat and can leave burn marks.).
- Turn off your lights during the day to avoid bulb bursts, burns, etc.
- Make sure that the lights you are using are intended for outdoor use and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Insure extension cords are outdoor use certified.
- Never string lights in a tree that is in contact with or close to power lines.
- Keep all electrical equipment away from pooling water
- Where ever possible point light sockets down to deter water from collecting in-between the bulb and its socket and be sure to tighten all bulbs.
My name is Liz Arnold and I am new here at Irrisoft, Inc. I am passionate about water efficiency which is what brought me to this company. Horticulture is my love. Landscape design is my undergrad and I enjoy sketching landscape plans for friends and neighbors. My masters degree is in horticulture with an emphasis in water conservation/water efficient landscaping. I believe in our product and know that smart irrigation is a powerful tool in conserving water. I am a wife and mother and all I do I do for them. Plants are a part of my everyday life; here are some of my favorite ways of incorporating our landscapes in the holiday season.