The Value of Christmas Trees

"...there is no reason why the joy associated with the Christmas evergreen may not be a means of arousing in the minds of children an appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees; and keen appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees is a long stop toward the will to plant and care for them (Arthur Sowder, US Forest Service, 1949)."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We had more growers with algea problems last year than ever before. We tried various products in the fall to get rid of the discoloration including Prev-Am, chlorox solutions, Dithane, horticultural oil, or zerotol. I even tried painting some trees. But nothing seemed to work.

That's when Kelly Ivors, our plant pathologist, talked with Gary Chastagner about it. They have been using copper based products in the spring out west to prevent algea from appearing.

So this week I hope to put out two studies looking at algea control -- one in Mitchell County with the help of Jeff Vance and one in Avery County with the help of Jerry Moody. We are going to be applying fungicides with a backpack sprayer. We'll treat some trees only once. Other's we'll retreat in about two weeks.

One of the products we're using is particularly recommended by Chastagner, called Kocide. The active ingredient is copper hydroxide. Kocide 3000 is labeled for fir trees in Christmas tree plantations to control needle casts at the rate of 0.75 to 1.75 pounds per acre and to control lichens at the rate of 3.5 pounds per acre. It should be applied before bud break.

I don't know yet if it will work, but it is a labeled product that you can try if you had a serious problem last year and think you'll have a problem again this year. I would only recommend this treatment in fields that are humid, such as those near woods, creeks, or where the trees are getting large and growing together. The label can be found at:

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