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Gardening with Laurie: Fireproof Christmas tree before decorating

Dec. 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.


Christmas Tree Fire Retardant

2 cups of liquid chlorine bleach*

2 cups of Karo syrup

1 tsp. epson salt

1/2 tsp. of cheated iron

Mix all ingredients in a bucket with about 2 gallons of hot water.

*Bleach in this solution can stain carpets or rugs

By Laurie Garretson

The Christmas season is here, and with that usually comes a cut tree in the house for decorating. Here are some Christmas tree facts and tips to help keep your cut tree as fresh and safe as possible for the season.

As soon as you bring your Christmas tree home, it is important that you cut about an inch or two off the base of the trunk. Never cut the trees trunk at an angle or into a V-shape. These types of cuts would make it harder to fit into a tree stand and would limit the amount of water available to the tree. Keep in mind that when a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight comes from all the water that's in the tree. You should never whittle on the sides of the tree trunk, either. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient at taking in water.

After you have cut off some of the bottom of tree trunk, immediately stand the tree in a container that can hold at least 2-3 gallons of water. Fill this container with Christmas Tree Fire Resistant solution. Leave the tree in this solution for 24 hours, or longer, outdoors in a cool location before moving it into the house.

Once the tree moves indoors to be decorated, place it in a tree stand that has an adequate dish to hold the amount of Tree Fire Retardant solution for a tree your size. As a general rule, your Christmas tree stand should hold enough liquid to provide one quart of solution per inch of tree trunk diameter. An example could be three quarts of solution for a three-inch-diameter tree trunk.

Place the tree away from all sources of heat; heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight and fireplaces. Heat sources will quickly dry the tree out. Keeping the room's temperature lower will slow the drying process. Decorating with miniature tree lights also will help to reduce the drying process.

Check the tree stands reservoir regularly, and add the fireproofing solution as needed.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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