Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Tree Drama

My husband had a plan. He was getting out his power drill so he could to drill holes up into the base of our newly purchased Christmas tree. A Grand Fir. Very stately and large.

As I came into the room to witness this scene I realized basic biology had escaped him and he was relying on his logical engineering brain instead. The way living trees move moisture is through the xylem - basically a series of hollow straws in the tree from the roots right up into the stomata in the leaves (or needles) where the water that came in up the trunk escapes as a gas.

Drilling holes up into the trunk does not improve the chance moisture will be drawn into the tree. The way to do this - I gently reminded him- is to saw off an inch of trunk from the base of the tree. This fresh cut will mean a fresh opening to water wicking xylem and improved uptake of water. The old trunk xylem becomes dry and filled with sticky bacteria and sap and dirt and is no longer effective, so a clean cut opens up the channels. Adding a drop of bleach to the water will help to keep it fresh as well.

So simply cut off the base of your tree and water water water. Enjoy!

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