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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 Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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