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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Posted: November 21, 2013 9:52 a.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Our Public Works Department Street and Electric crews have been diligently working to decorate the city for Christmas. I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it takes time for us to deck the halls for December. Thanks to their efforts we’ll have decorated light poles throughout the downtown and several lit Christmas trees.

Speaking of Christmas trees, there will be at least five live trees for viewing around town: Boykin Park, Kirkwood Park, Rectory Square, Camden City Hall and the Town Green. The featured tree at the Town Green this year will be a “Clemson greenspire” cypress, which was grown at Bear Creek Tree Farm in Chapin. For you plant aficionados, this is a cultivar of Arizona cypress (Cuppressus arizonica “Clemson greenspire”) and the attractive foliage is a deep green in color and pleasantly aromatic. Last year, we featured another Arizona cypress cultivar, “Carolina sapphire.” We have of course still decorated our Dr. Seuss tree at city hall. This deodar cedar has grown significantly since first planted and will be “blinged-out” for the official tree lighting the week after Thanksgiving.

A one-time appearance of an additional “tree” will be showcased in the vacant lot at the corner of Broad and Rutledge streets. Due to the demolition of the former Maxway building, a big empty space lingers. So, we’ve dusted off and redesigned an artificial tree to provide some extra Christmas color!

By the time you read this, truckloads of Christmas trees are being harvested and transported to points all across South Carolina for “Black Friday” sales. Whether you are the adventurous type to visit a tree farm and cut your own tree or visit a tree lot for an already cut tree, here are some tips for helping your tree last throughout the month.

1) Run your hand along several of the branches. If needles readily and consistently fall off, you may want to consider another tree as this may be an indication that the tree is already drying out. If just a few needles are shed, it may be from it being handled and transported.

2) Once you’ve chosen “the” tree, cutting a fresh slice or “cookie” off the base is important when trees have been cut for more than four hours. This is most likely the case if you purchase your tree at a retail store of from a Christmas tree lot.

3) If at all possible, bring a tarp with you and cover your tree once it’s loaded on your vehicle. Wind increases transpiration (water loss from the needles) which will dry out your tree. To put it in perspective, a Category 1 Hurricane is classified when the wind speed reaches 74 mph. If you drive home along the highway with your tree, you are quite possibly subjecting it to hurricane force winds. This has a tendency to dry it out -- a lot!

4) As soon as you get home, get the tree in water, even if it’s a bucket in the back yard. The sooner the better. One of the keys to keeping your tree fresh is to keep it hydrated and that means water. Trees will absorb the most amount of water in the first few days after being cut. If the base dries out, resin will form over the cut end and the tree will not be able to absorb water and will dry out quickly. The longer they go without water, the dryer they get. You don’t need anything other than regular tap water. Commercially prepared mixes like aspirin, sugar and other additives introduce into the water are not necessary. Research has shown that plain water will keep a tree fresh.

5) If you are not quite ready to bling out your tree once you bring it home, keep it outside in a partially shaded (cool) area and in a bucket or shallow pan of water.

6) When you are ready to bring it inside, be sure to monitor the water reservoir and fill it when necessary.

I hope these tips help you to have a beautiful and green tree and that the downtown decorations bring you joy this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

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