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)."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Organic Project Update

Last month I visited the Extension Organic demonstration and once again rated the trees based on their terminal growth and overall appearance. I made a similar ratings last year and posted them on my blog on August 24, 2010

I rated the tree appearance the same way I did last year. Trees were given a rating of "1" if they were barely growing. A "2" rating was given to a tree that was growing better, but still had poor color and bud set. A "3" rating was given to a tree that was growing acceptably. A "4" rating was given to an exception tree both in color, bud set, needle length and fullness. Of course these ratings were completely subjective and sometimes I had trouble deciding between a "2" and a "3" or a "3" and a "4."

Here are the results:

The results were very similar to last year. Some trees looked worse than they did last year and some looked better. Overall the organic trees appeared to have improved a bit, but there were still many more trees growing poorly than the "late" organic trees. (Remember that the "late" organic trees will switch to complete organic practices next year, but so far have been treated conventionally with Round-up and synthetic fertilizers). 

But as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words. Here are two shots in July of the organic and late organic trees:

Organic trees -- there are a few good trees but not many.
These trees have been grown conventionally and will switch to organic production next year.
It will be interesting to see switching to organic fertilizers will affect the "late" organic trees. I'll let you know same time next year!

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