Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Buzz about Pollinators

You may think pollinators are just bees when in fact pollinators are butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, birds, bats, small mammals and lastly but most important are bees. 

Why are bees so important, particularly honey bees?

  • Honey bees are responsible for 1.2 to 5.4 billion dollars in agriculture productivity in the US according to Pollinator Partnership.
  • A honey bee worker can produce up to 1/12 a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • The Queen honey bee lays up to 1,500 eggs per day or up to 1 million in her lifetime which is 3-4 years.
  • A worker bee who collects pollen may only live three weeks because they visit 50-100 flowers in one trip or up to 2,000 flowers in a day.  During drought years when plants are struggling and may not produce as many flowers, bees have less of a resource to sustain them.
                  Picture by Brian Talamantes,CSU Weed & Agronomy Agent

According to Pollinator Partnership about 75 to 95% of plants need help with pollination, the following are items recommended by the Xerces Society and Pollinator Partnership for the role you play in helping pollinators:

  1. Create natural habitat areas by agricultural farms, urban agriculture and community gardens all will increase their yield.
  2. Plant the right plants and create a diversity of bloom with some areas of habitat for native bees for nesting.  These include brush piles, old tree stumps and open sandy ground.
  3. Stop the use of both organic and non-organic insecticides because both can harm pollinators including removing noninvasive wildflowers.  This takes away the ESSENTIAL nectar and pollen for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. 
Visit the Xerces Society  and Pollinator Partnership for more information about pollinators. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Did you know fun horticulture facts?

Bamboo:

Did you know that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet? 
  •  47.6 inches in a 24 hour period.
Redwood:

Did you know the redwood or Sequoia sempervirens is the world's tallest-growing tree?
275 feet in height and 25 feet in width

Bristlecone Pine:

Did you know that bristlecone pine or Pinus aristata is the world's oldest-growing tree?
4,600 years old

Trees and carbon production:

Did you know that an acre of trees can absorb as much carbon as is produced by a car driven up to 8700 miles? 

Birch:

Did you know that a mature birch tree can produce up to a million seeds in a year?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What about Astro Turf?


Weeds and debris including wood chips in the artificial turf.
During times of drought in the west, artificial turf seems like a good alternative.  It is a good replacement on sports fields, in areas difficult to grow grass and areas with high traffic.  However, there is still maintenance required with the artificial turf.  Having artificial turf reduces fertilizer usage, chemical inputs and mowing.  In a different way it is not any less maintenance then living turf.  Listed below are some of the things that you still need to do when maintaining the artificial Turf:

  • Leaf collection
  • Debris removed
  • Pet feces and urine deposits
  • Other wind-blown dirt


Photos by Linda Langelo
 
The picture above of the soccer field illustrates one of the uses of  artificial turf.  There are several others listed below:
 
Football
Lacrosse
Field Hockey
Rugby
Softball
Military Marching Drills 
Marching Band
Physical Exercises
Physical Education Activities
 
 
The main things to do when you have an artificial turf field according to AstroTurf Products Manual is follow some of the simple rules:
 
  • Keep it clean.
  • Install a fence around the turf to control access (this field does have a fence-right side of picture).
  • Post signs prohibiting smoking or carrying food or drink onto the turf.
  • Provide trash and litter cans nearby.
  • Observe recommended load limits for static and rolling loads, especially when turf is wet.
  • Repair minor damage promptly before it becomes a larger problem
  • Follow all recommended maintenance and cleaning procedures.
 
There is a whole list of different equipment used on artificial turf such as sweepers and vacuums.  Then there is a list of chemicals to avoid such as Clorox and other highly acid cleaners.  And not to mention, ultraviolet rays breakdown the artificial turf.  Purchasing a cover extends the life of the turf and reduces the cleaning of the artificial turf. 


 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Apache Plume: An Underused Shrub



 
Photos by Linda Langelo
 
Apache Plume is a plant that I consider still very underused in the landscape.  This is a native of the southwest which provides interest year-round.  In late spring a flush of white roselike flowers appear and continue through midsummer into fall.  Once the flowers disappear there are feathery cream to pink styles that stay behind shown in the first picture where they are silhouetted and the second where you can see the light pink color.  Lastly, in winter the shrub habit gives a light and airy texture. 
 
 
This shrub does best in sunny, hot and dry locations.  It requires very little supplemental water.  It bears the same characteristic as pinyon pines.   Neither do well in regular irrigation.  In fact the two would do well to be used as companion plants in a landscape. 
 
 
Plant them and neglect them.  Pinyon pines that thrive in New Mexico which gets less than 9 inches of water a year do well.  Apache Plume which also does well in New Mexico would do well on as much water.   Apache Plume also thrives in Utah, west to California and down into north-central Mexico. 
 
 
This shrub loves the full-sun exposure, but can tolerate partial shade.  When placing this shrub be sure that the partial shade is very limited in the plant's exposure. 
 
 
This plant is not fussy about soil type.  It will do well in either sand or clay. 
 
We are in zone 5 in northeast Colorado and this plant does well in zones 4 to 8 with an elevation range up to 7,000 feet. 
 
Think about adding this plant in your landscape either as an accent or in grouping.  It is very attractive and conservative on water along with no input for fertilization, pruning or disease and pest problems. 



Tending to the Golf Course

Ballyneal Golf  Course Photo By Linda Langelo



Tending grass is the crop of choice for golf courses.  Among superintendents in the golfing world, according to James Francis Monroe in Green Section Record March/April 1998 of the United States Golfing Association brings to light an old saying: “Your greens are your resume.” Golfers always have a perception of the course based on the green.  When the putting surface is less than perfect, the superintendent is called on the carpet. 

One way to evaluate the course is to find a middle ground between the superintendent and golfer’s expectations of how the course should be.  Talking to the regular golfers is one way of learning how your greens are performing.  You also can find out the golfers’ expectations of your greens and what the golfers who use your course use to gauge your greens performance.  Communication, communication, communication is the key.  No surprise here. This is like any other success in the world; it is a two-way communication. 

If I were a superintendent, and I am not, I would have some way reporting daily to the golfers coming on the course that day.  Something a kin to the weather forecast.  This is a way of saying this is what you can expect today.  This covers you for the things in life that just happen and are not within your control such as irrigation issues or weather.  If you, as a superintendent, have plans for your golf course to play at tournament level every day, it will stress the turf way beyond what it can handle according to David L. Wienecke, author in United State Golfing Association. 

So what is the best that any golfer or superintendent can expect?  That you as a superintendent tailor your maintenance program to meet your golfer’s needs.  What does every maintenance program entail? 

Here are the basics of what a superintendent oversees to maintain a healthy course according to David L. Wienecke, of the USGA:
• Mowing properly
Factors involved with mowing properly include the grass variety on the green; the local climate and expected quality of play.
• Roll the greens
Doing this regularly helps keep the greens firm and smooth. 
• Cultivate your turf frequently
This means core aerify or deeply vertical mow at least 20% of the putting surface area each year.
• Apply turf growth regulators
This is a relatively new maintenance feature which is used to increase putting surface density and smoothness.  It also eliminates Poa annua seeding.
• Water properly
Deep, infrequent irrigation is important.  The putting green needs to be watered separately from the rough.  Any hot spots, which are always present, need to be watered by hand.
• Fertilize properly
Each course’s program will be different.  The basic principle is just to supply fertilizer as a foliar application at low rates to match the growing needs of the turf.

No two golf courses are alike.  Locally, we have Ballyneal Golf Course, a link’s course and Holyoke City Golf Course.  Ballyneal participates in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.  By implementing and documenting a full complement of environmental management practices, a course earns designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Some areas addressed by the ASCP are:
Environmental planning
Wildlife and habitat management
Chemical use, reduction, and safety
Water conservation
Water quality management
Outreach and education
Participation in these programs is the main difference between our local courses.  There are other differences as well.  Ballyneal Golf Course grows fine fescue because it helps mimic the traditional playing surfaces of golf.  Holyoke City Golf Course uses bent grass and Kentucky Bluegrass.  Bent grass and Kentucky Bluegrass require more water and fertilization.  Fine fescue is a low-input grass.  Ballyneal Golf Course is built on sandy soil.  Holyoke Golf Course is not totally sand.  It is a given that soil structure and type of grass dictate how to manage the course aside from the regulations and rules of golf played on that course.  Keeping the golfers happy is really a large part of the management.

Grapevines

Photo by Linda Langelo

One of the most common problems with grapes in our area is sensitivity to 2,4-D herbicide.  Homeowners use the 2,4-D to control broadleaf weeds in the lawn.   The grapevines are very sensitive.  When 2,4-D is applied under windy or high temperatures, it can cause great injury to the grapevine.  According to Kansas State University Agriculture Experiment Station the type of injury to your grapes depends on several factors listed below:

  • Application methods
  • Herbicide behavior in the environment
  • Weather conditions
  • Herbicide properties
  • Susceptibility of grape cultivars
  • Grapevine age and vigor
  • Proximity of grapes to herbicide application areas.   
Unfortunately, the injury sustained by the grapevine will take up to a minimum of five years before the grapevine returns to full production.  If you are using the grapevine to harvest a crop, this is a long time without production.  And still, you have to wait another season, your sixth season to have a harvest. 

The reason this and other herbicides are damaging is because they are highly phytotoxic and readily translocated from leaves to roots to growing points. The herbicides change the hormonal balance at the growing point.  See picture below:

 
Along with 2,4-D there are other hormonal-type herbicides which control broadleaf weeds that can cause damage to grapevine such as the following:
  • 2,4-DB
  • MCPA
  • MCPB
  • mecoprop
  • dicamba
  • clopyralid
  • triclopyr
  • fluroxpyr
  • picloram
  • quincloac

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zimmerman Pine Moth

 
Zimmerman Pine Moth have been more evident this growing season.  If you take a look in your Austrian or Scotch pines at the branch crotches and see this popcorn pitch mass accumulating, this is a good symptom indicating the larvae are active.  The larvae tunnel under the bark and weaken the crotch area.  The next high wind or thunderstorm or snow storm may snap these limbs off.
 
The Zimmerman Pine Moth has one generation per year.  At this time in late July and August, the adults are active.  The females are laying eggs again near the popcorn pitch masses previously made or by new entry wounds on the tree. 
 
It is key to control with a trunk spray in mid-April and again in August.  The larvae will overwinter in a cocoon under the bark scales.  
 
 

Growth Regulator Herbicide Galls on Honey Locusts

Photo by Linda Langelo

This is honey locust showing the "growth regulator herbicide galls".  Chemicals such as dicamba, triclopyr and clopyralid are known to cause these galls.  These herbicide chemicals imitate growth regulators.  They are phenoxyacetic acids, benzoic acids (dicamba) and pyridines (triclopyr and clopyralid).

Chemicals such as triclopyr are used for broad leaved weeds and is effective on woody plants.  Several trees that are also affected are as follows: 
  • Aspen
  • Basswood
  • Buckthorn
  • Cherry
  • Chokecherry
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Hawthorn
  • Mulberry
  • Pines
  • Poplar
  • Oak
  • Sumac
Triclopyr controls broad leaved weeds such as field bindweed, dandelions, curled dock, burdock, pigweed, smartweed and wild lettuce.  This chemical imitates a growth regulator and causes rapid growth.  The rapid cell growth causes cells to rupture.  As cells rupture throughout the plant, the plant cannot translocate food and water.  It kills the entire plant including the root system. 

These chemicals need to be used properly.  Please read the labels carefully because the label is a legally binding contract and you will be held legally responsible. 

Our trees in the Golden Plains Area or northeast corner of Colorado have enough to survive all of our extreme weather conditions.  They do not need our carelessness added to environmental conditions such as extreme drought.


 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Prairie Garden



This is just one of the sites selected to grow native flowers to enhance the aesthetics of the landscape and attract pollinators.  Now in this picture you will see a non-native annual California Poppy.  We used some of those to add more seasonal showy color while other plants are much younger and establishing themselves.  Next spring, there will be color provided from Penstemon species and native Columbine species.

With the native flowers around the sign, this landmark becomes more than a sign letting people know they are now passing through Julesburg.  The place comes to life because tourists stop and want to have their pictures taken by the sign.  Along their travels, Julesburg becomes a memorable moment and a place they will tell others about.  After all this is Colorful Colorado!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Northern Catalpa - A tree to consider for your landscape

Photos by Linda Langelo


Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa are beautiful trees.  They flower later in spring to early summer usually May or June. The flowers are very striking.  They are white with purple markings. 

This tree has a spread of 20 to 40 feet and a height of 40 to 60.  One drawback to planting this tree is that fast growing trees tend to be weak wooded trees.  The Northern Catalpa in the picture is fairly close to the house.  Consider using this tree to shade the back yard or at least place it further away from the house.

But while in flower, this tree is spectacular.  The leaves are heart-shaped or cordate leaves.  In the fall of the year, you would have to rake the leaves so that they will not smother the turf.  The size of the leaves can be from 6 to 12 inches.  They are a little difficult to totally breakdown under the mower blades. 

Because these trees are fast-growing, people look to these trees to provide shade.  They grow in zones 4 through 8. 

The best features of this tree are as follows:

  • tolerates hot weather
  • drought tolerant
  • grows in a wide range of soils including alkaline soils
All of those features make this tree an asset to the landscape in hot, dry northern Colorado with our alkaline soils. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

4-H Clover Garden

 Photos by Linda Langelo

These are pictures of the new 4-H Clover Garden in Sedgwick County Fairgrounds in northeast Colorado.  This garden is the only one of its kind.  This garden was made possible by Colorado Garden Show, Inc. funding.  The garden is to be used as an educational tool and when not being used as such it adds to the aesthetics of the fairgrounds. 

Each leaf represents the vision of 4-H philosophy come to life.  Each leaf of the clover is filled with plants or sculpture that represents that leaf.   At the moment we are waiting for the final sculpture.  When it arrives, I will add the final picture of the garden.  Stop by and see the garden, if you are in the area.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plant Select in Northeast Colorado



In the above picture, Osteospermum 'Avalanche' PP 22,705 or more commonly called Avalanche White Sun Daisy is a wonderful low mat forming plant with continuous flowering throughout the growing season.  This plant provides evergreen foliage throughout the year.  The nature of the foliage is almost succulent.  The blossoms close at night.  On the underside of the ray flowers, they reveal a metallic reverse of the ray flowers.  These plants are xeric.  They do well as a garden border.  As the picture shows, there is pea-gravel around the crown of the plant.  The plants do very well this way.  This plant does well in full-sun.  It is a native of South Africa, but is hardy here in zones 4-9.  It tolerates a wide range of soils from garden loam, clay and sand.

 
Photo by Linda Langelo

In the above picture, the yellow plant in the foreground is Erigonum umbellatum var aureum 'Psdowns' or more commonly called Kannah Creek Buckwheat.  The plant directly behind the Kannah Creek Buckwheat is Salvia daghestanica or more commonly called Platinum Sage.  These plants make a great combination together in the landscape.

The Kannah Creek Buckwheat is a great border groundcover.  It is xeric.  The foliage stays attractive throughout the winter months with the leaves showing off a reddish hue.  It will take full-sun to partial shade growing in zones 3-8.  And has a wide range of soil choices from garden loam, clay or sand.

The Platinum Sage is also an excellent groundcover plant with low-mounding rosettes of leaves covered densely with silvery, woolly hairs.  The characteristic features of this plant that keep it so xeric are the woolly hairs and the silver color.  Plants with these features are very drought tolerant.  This plant grows in full-sun to partial shade in zones 5-8.  It grows in a wide range of soils from garden loam, clay to sand. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Northern Accents Roses




In northeastern Colorado, I have a client that has a new introduction of a polyantha rose.  This is a perpetual bloomer with a high resistance to black spot.  A rosarian's dream come true.  Why?  Little to no pruning.  Pruning in the spring to remove weak shoots and little trimming on the tips.  What more could you ask for?    With such an easy care rose, you have lots of time to do all the other favorite things besides gardening and still have time to tweet.  This is something to tweet about!

The University of Minnesota plant breeders are the ones responsible for the Northern Accents roses.  There is a series of four: 'Sven', 'Ole', 'Lena' and 'Sigrid'.   Sigrid is the latest introduction in 2012. 

These polyantha roses have clusters of blooms that repeat and repeat throughout the season.  They are super-hardy polyantha that can survive winter temperatures to -47 degrees Fahrenheit.  For those in northeastern Colorado with extremes of below freezing temperatures and high wind in winter, high winds in spring to dry and hot conditions in the summer, this is the perfect rose. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring for the Golden Plains

Spring is more like fall this year.  Wet heavy snow and temperatures below freezing, sometimes dipping into the teens.  Gardeners here are anxiously awaiting for warmer temperatures to start their vegetable gardens.  This year the last spring frost will be as late as May 20th.  In the meantime, garlic is coming up and the moisture is good for the early development of the bulbs.  This is also true of onions.  Snow will not damage either.  If you had the presence of mind to plant spinach at the end of last season, this moisture would have given you a wonderful crop.  So as we wait for warmer season crops, sit back and enjoy the rain, ice and snow. 

 Photo by Linda Langelo

This picture was taken outside the Phillips County Event Center in Phillips County Fairgrounds.  The early warm temperatures forced most of the early season daffodils into bloom.   Then came the snow and temperatures below freezing and the daffodils never lasted more than a day.   Be sure to plan on these extreme weather events and plant early, middle and late blooming bulbs.   Happy spring!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spice up your life with herbs

January is the time to sit back with all your catalogs and add plants that add flavor to your cooking: herbs. If you do not want a separate herb garden, then plan the herbs of your choice in areas where you have empty space.  While doing this, keep in mind the requirement for caring for herbs is full-sun and well-drained soils.  Herbs make good companion plants that contribute to the health and flavor of other plants as well as repel insects.

Once your herbs are planted, keep cutting them frequently in the first stage of their growth called the leaf stage.  Harvesting herbs at the right stage is very important with a few exceptions.  Picking your herbs at the leaf stage gives you the opportunity to capture optimal flavors.  If you wait until the second stage of growth, the flowering stage, the leaves slow down or stop growing.  Once the leaves slow, the taste changes and they can yellow.  The tastes can change to grassy, woody and bitter.  Who would want to eat herbs at this point?  Flowers do have their purpose.  At the flowering stage, some herbs are used as fragrant garnishes for salads or deserts.   

What can herbs do for you besides add flavor to your food?  Herbs are a natural food.  Food that has nutrients, enzymes, proteins, vitamins and minerals which your body uses.  Eat well and you have a better chance of staying well. So why not add herbs to your garden for fragrance and to enhance the flavor of the foods you love and add nutrients to your diet from a fresh food.
What herbs should you add to your garden?  The kitchen herbs are the basic essential herbs for cooking.  There are eight essential kitchens or culinary herbs: basil, coriander/cilantro, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.  Basil, cilantro and rosemary are all annuals.  Mint, oregano, sage, tarragon and thyme are perennials. 

Basil is an annual which you can easily reseed in the garden each year.  It is a very aromatic herb which can be used as a culinary herb, condiment or spice.  The best way to use basil is fresh, or if not fresh, then dried.  During the growing season, it is important to keep basil watered on a regular basis.  Basil is intolerant of water stress.  It is also best to keep cutting basil.  The first main cuts should remove up to half the stem.  And keep pruning to keep the basil bushy.  If you wish to plant basil in the vegetable garden, it will improve the flavor and growth of tomato plants.  Repelling thrips, flies and mosquitoes, basil is also beneficial for peppers, oregano, asparagus and even petunias.

Coriander aka Chinese Parsley is often mistaken for parsley and easily reseeds itself each year in the garden.  With this herb, Cilantro refers to the leaves and Coriander refers to the seeds of the plant.  The leaves are best used fresh, added to the dish before serving.  When the leaves are dried or frozen they spoil rapidly.  The seeds are used in cooking as well.  As a member of the carrot family, coriander using this in the vegetable garden to repel aphids, spider mites and potato beetles.
 
Mint is a perennial herb which can be very aggressive in the garden.  Create an underground barrier or place the mint in an area where it can go wild.  Some of the mints are hardy, such as peppermint which can grow in zone 3.  Spearmint, on the other hand, tolerates the heat best in zone 11.  Mint can be used in teas, with lamb, added to fruits such as berries and melons, and even vegetables such as beans, carrots, potatoes and peas.  If you wish to use mint in the vegetable garden, you can use cuttings of the plant around any member of the brassica family which would be cabbage, cauliflower and kale.  Mint deters a number of pests including cabbage moths, ants, rodents, flea beetles, fleas, aphids and improves the health of tomatoes and cabbage.  The flowers of mint attract hover flies and predatory wasps.

Oregano is a perennial which can seed itself in your garden.  The ideal soil is well-drained and slightly alkaline with full-sun exposure.  Oregano is a slow grower.  It is good to keep the soil free of weeds around the plant to help oregano get established.  Like Basil, keeping the plants pruned will keep them bushy and full.  If you wish to plant oregano amongst your vegetables, it is very versatile.  It can be beneficial for most all crops, especially cabbage.

Rosemary is difficult to start from seed.  It is best to take cuttings of this every year to keep inside for the winter.  Rosemary will not tolerate our cold winter temperatures.  A temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit is about the lowest temperature before the plants are damaged.   Rosemary can be used to enhance any food.  The key words are any food.  Rosemary is often added to meats, but is equally great with salads and desserts.  So add rosemary to lamb, veal, rabbit, poultry, fish, eggs, pickles, fruits, jellies, jams and cookies.  If you wish to use rosemary in amongst your vegetable plants, they deter cabbage moths, bean beetles, and carrot flies.  So place your rosemary next to cabbage, carrots, and beans.

Sage is another strongly flavored herb that is a perennial which requires slightly alkaline, well-drained soil and full-sun.  Every spring sage needs to be pruned back.  Take away half of each stem.  This way it will retain a bushy habit.  For its culinary uses, sage can be used in salads and omelets.  Since sage is a rather strong flavored herb like rosemary, the best way to use it is lightly, if you have no experience with it.  To use sage lightly, we need to use the younger leaves and sometimes you may want to use only 1/3 of the leaf.  For those with experience in using sage, using the older leaves will bring its strongest flavor out in cooking.  If you wish to plant it in the vegetable garden, sage deters cabbage moths, flea beetles, beetles and carrot flies.  So plant it next to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots.

Tarragon is a perennial herb with an aromatic smell similar to anise.  It is an herb that is difficult to grow from seed.  It is best grown from a root division.  If tarragon is not divided regularly, the roots can choke the itself out.  Besides that, it thrives on neglect.  Our climate of hot and dry in the summer is what tarragon prefers.  Tarragon is one of the basic herbs used by the French in their cooking.  Tarragon is used with chicken, fish, lasagna and eggs.  The most interesting characteristic of tarragon is its scent and taste.  Insects dislike both, so tarragon is used as a companion plant.  Tarragon has the ability to enhance both flavor and growth of nearby vegetables in the garden.

Thyme is a perennial herb that can be picked at any time of the year, but as one of the exceptions, the best time is when it is in bloom.  It prefers full-sun and well-drained soil.  It can be easily started from seed, stem cuttings or division.  Thyme is used in soups, sauces, poultry stuffing, fish and other meats.  Thyme can be dried or frozen without damaging the quality of the herb.  Thyme is said to deter cabbage worms, if you choose to use it as a companion with cabbage in the vegetable garden.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Origin of Christmas Trees


Christmas Trees
 
 
Ever wonder about the origin of the Christmas Tree?  According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the earliest written record of a Christmas Tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.  A local group of merchants decorated a tree with artificial roses which they associated with the Virgin Mary and then set fire to it. 
 
The first evidence of a Christmas Tree in the United States was not until the earliest German settlers.  The early pilgrims in 1620 had orthodox beliefs.  Christmas was not an official federal holiday until 1870 after the American Revolution.  But slightly prior to that in 1851 Christmas Trees were sold commercially.  The first President credited for bringing the Christmas Tree to the White House as decoration was Franklin Pierce.  Today, the White House has 57 decorated trees.  In fact it was not until 1966, that the National Christmas Tree Association presented their Grand Champion grower’s tree to the First Lady.  The first tree to be displayed in the Blue Room was during President Lyndon Johnson’s term.  This tree was grown by Howard Pierce of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. 
 
In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was so concerned about the destruction of our forests that he tried to stop the practice of Christmas Trees.  His own sons fought against this argument and got the support of Gifford Pinchot a conservationist of the day to support the theory that thinning the forests was helpful and not harmful. 
 
Today, approximately 25-30 million trees are sold and most all come from Christmas Tree plantations.  To save from cutting live trees, the first company to sell an artificial tree was Sears, Roebuck and Company around 1883.  They offered a tree with 33 limbs for $.50 and 55 limbs for $1.00.  Despite the availability of artificial trees people begin to decimate the natural supply of evergreens.  Popular magazines of the day, published articles to encourage people to purchase artificial trees instead. 
 
In 1901, the first Christmas Tree farm was started in New Jersey by W.V. McGalliard where 25,000 Norway Spruce were planted.  In 1930, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a Christmas Tree farm on his estate in Hyde Park, New York. 
 
So in preservation of Christmas Trees, if you purchase a live tree, you could take cuttings off the tree and root them to start even more trees.  You could purchase a live tree in a container.  Not all trees down through history started at floor to ceiling in height, but rather were table top and up to four feet in height.  Or you could just purchase an artificial tree and conserve our shrinking habitat.  After all it is the “Going Green” and Sustainability Era.