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C.O. freeze could affect your Christmas tree

By John Hendricks
Published On: Dec 11 2013 01:25:48 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 02:02:46 AM CST

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on how the recent cold snap could affect your Christmas tree.

REDMOND, Ore. -

The cold snap that sent Central Oregon 20 to 30 degrees below zero Sunday morning may have taken a toll on your Christmas tree.
     
Varieties like Douglas and Grand Fir don't tolerate the cold as well as Noble Firs. With trees left on lots overnight, some say even covering the trees wouldn't have mattered.

Redmond Greenhouse Owner Doug Stott says this isn't the first time Central Oregon has been faced with this problem.

He recalls a time when this very same thing happened.

"They quickly became defoliated -- they were almost totally naked," Stott said.

"With our experience, we know the Noble trees hold up, as long as they're a good fresh tree," Stott said. "They will hold onto that needle, and they will be unaffected by the frost."

He adds that if you did buy a Douglas or Grand Fir after the really cold weather set in, you soon will be able to tell if your tree is going bad.

"It's an unusual smell," Stott said. "Then typically, the needles may start to turn brown, or they may actually start to shear off the tree."

Matt Hess, who owns and operates Hess Trees in Redmond, says he has been hit by the cold once before as well. He says he now only keeps a small supply on the lot at any given time.

Hess also says you will notice if your tree is not doing well.

"If it doesn't drink at all, you have a problem.," Hess said.

If that's the case, he recommends taking it down, cutting a small ring off the base and putting it back up.

Experts say trees cut in the forest should be unaffected by the cold weather.

Here are some tips to keep your tree green and healthy.

     - Visit with the person selling the tree and learn as much as you can about its history
     - Don't put the tree outside in a bucket of water when you get it.
     - Cut a ring off the base of the tree and place it in warm water; that helps the tree drink
     - Keep it watered
     - Use a "Wilt Proof" or "Wilt Stop" spray.

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