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Taking care of the tree

December 6, 2012
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

Christmas time is truly a family time for many of us. The huge poinsettia, the amaryllis bulbs, and, of course, the Christmas cactus plants that, well, were in bloom. I guess they were Thanksgiving cactus plants this time around.

All of this has my youngest digging the plastic bee-shaped watering can out of the gardening supplies in the garage and gleefully watering just about everything that can be reached; I don't have to worry too much about things not getting watered, but maybe a little over-watered.

And speaking of watering, remembering to check the pan under the real Christmas trees every day is a must; we take turns in our family to make sure it is done.

The first week or so, the tree will take water perhaps even twice a day, while later on, as the holiday comes and goes, it probably will start to take less and less. We have a tradition in our family that we don't get our Christmas tree until the third Advent candle is to be lit in our house.

We really enjoy having our real Christmas tree up for the 10 days of Christmas which doesn't start until Dec. 25. The holiday seems to come and go so fast that it is nice to have it last a little bit longer. There are all sorts of preparations that are out there that are supposed to help keep your tree fresh but most of these things are not really what a tree needs; just plain water and remembering to keep the water line above the cut line of the tree trunk is all that is needed.

Christmas tree farms are a sustainable effort by many families in Minnesota. There are many others who depend on Christmas trees being sold every year from truck drivers who bring us the trees from the farms to people who are actively selling the trees.

The Christmas tree farms are very careful with replanting trees each and every year in order to have trees for us from this Christmas onward to future Christmas holidays.

It is time for many of us to turn down the thermostats in our homes to allow our plants to thrive and to allow our real Christmas trees to last just a little bit longer. We need to enjoy a little Mother Nature in our homes. It brings us a little closer to Mother Earth.

We enjoy having a nice Christmas wreath or two for decorations and the natural evergreen roping throughout our house, keeps the house smelling so good during the holidays. It is a time of rich tradition, of homecomings and enjoying all of the special times during the season of which children wait so patiently throughout the whole year.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at



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