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No Christmas tree shortage here — if you keep it real

While artificial trees are caught in transit, real trees are ready for customers

Christmas trees upright and still wrapped
Area nurseries and home improvement stores, plus pop-up sellers, will have stock of live Christmas trees. The Plant Foundry, above, in Oak Park received its trees early in the week and the staff members were setting them up as fast as they could. (Photo courtesy The Plant Foundry)

Will there be a Christmas tree shortage this holiday season? No – if you keep it real.

While artificial trees may be stuck in supply chain snags, real trees should be in good supply, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

In particular, trees should be in good shape and in good supply from El Dorado County growers. After months of drought, October rain refreshed the pines, firs and cedars. They’re now ready for cutting and customers.

Clustered around Placerville in the Apple Hill area, local growers traditionally open their farms to visitors the day after Thanksgiving and keep selling until sold out. Challenged by drought and pandemic, some family farms have stopped selling trees, but about 20 El Dorado County growers are expected to be offering trees this season. For a map, details and directions, got to https://chooseandcut.com/ .

City shoppers also should find a healthy selection of fresh trees, says the national association, but shop early. The lack of fake tree availability is driving more demand for the real thing.

An intense summer heat wave did sunburn lots of Oregon-grown trees, causing concern, say industry experts. Farms in the northern Willamette Valley reported many heat-related losses. Fortunately, the sunburn was often only cosmetic and could be trimmed off.

Looking for a Christmas tree near you? Check out the tree locator map (and tree tips) at: www.itschristmaskeepitreal.com .

What about a potted living tree? Firs, pines and other conifers are not houseplants; it’s best if these trees’ days indoors are numbered.

If you decide to use a living Christmas tree, keep it outside in a sunny location and well-watered until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree. Make its stay indoors as brief as possible before returning outside – and hopefully finding a spot where it can put its roots down.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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