Tag Archives: christmas trees

MSU Christmas tree resources abound

If you’re a procrastinator and you haven’t purchased your Christmas tree yet or even if you’ve had it up and decorated for weeks, you’ll want to listen to a conversation on WKAR. Kirk Heinze, host of Greening of the Great Lakes, interviews Bert Cregg, Michigan State University Extension specialist and associate professor of horticulture and forestry, on how to pick out, care for and dispose of a live Christmas tree: http://www.mlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/11/michigans_christmas_tree_indus.html

(After clicking on the above link, scroll down for the link to the conversation.)

Dr. Cregg mentions that many people have never had a real Christmas tree. To allay their doubts and fears, he and his team have developed programs and educational resources. One such resource is an MSU Extension article on first-time tree buying by Dr. Cregg and senior Extension educator Jill O’Donnell:


Scroll down on the same page to find more articles, a Michigan Fresh fact sheet Michigan Christmas Trees (written by Jill O’Donnell, Bert Cregg and Extension educator Erin Lizotte) and videos produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications on selecting and caring for your tree.

Here’s a link to 14 new 15-second videos produced by ANR Communications giving species-specific information regarding Christmas trees: http://bit.ly/1ORVlc4. Retailers can use QR codes that link to the videos on tree tags to help consumers optimize tree quality and longevity.

In addition to educating the public, MSU Extension and AgBioResearch specialists and scientists are busy doing research that will assist growers with fertilization management. They’re also working with genetic selection, finding and identifying the species and types of trees that adapt best to Michigan growing conditions.

Watch this ANR Communications-produced video on Christmas tree research, part of the Did You Know? video series:

The video will be shown on WKAR on the following dates and times:

  • WKAR HD: Sat., Dec. 19, 4:57 p.m.
  • WKAR HD: Mon., Dec. 21, 12:27 a.m.
  • WKAR HD: Tues., Dec. 22, 10:57 p.m.
  • WKAR CRT (Create): Tues., Dec. 22, 3:56 p.m.

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The Christmas tree season is all year long

Since the holiday season is over, it may be easy to put the idea of Christmas trees behind you. However, our Michigan State University Extension specialists and educators are working with Christmas tree producers year-round to ensure that their trees are ready to sit in our living rooms at the end of the year. This was clearly highlighted in this quarter’s Great Lakes Christmas Tree Journal, published by the Michigan Christmas Tree Association in January 2015, in which MSU Extension specialists and educators demonstrated their expertise on almost every page.

Of the columns that were featured, the authors from MSU Extension included Extension educator Christina Curell and senior Extension educator Jill O’Donnell as well as Extension specialists Bert Cregg and Pascal Nzokou.

The content that is published in the Great Lakes Christmas Tree Journal is received by four regions: Ontario, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. I’m very proud to see the amount of scholastic effort that was put into this publication by our staff members, and how active they are in sharing the resources of Michigan State University. Keep up the great work!

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Will you be bringing home a Christmas tree? Check this out!

It’s that time of year again! It’s officially December and that means that most of you have either already purchased a tree for the holidays or you are planning to do so in the next few weeks. Wherever you are in the tree-buying game, you might be wise to check out the multiple resources created by Michigan State University Extension on the topics of how to choose, care for and dispose of Christmas trees successfully.

A great place to start would be “Choosing the Right Christmas Tree” by Bert Cregg and Jill O’Donnell. If you aren’t sure what type of tree to get, they’ve put together a comprehensive guide about what types of Christmas trees are available in Michigan, as well as different tips on how to care for them.

Other helpful and timely MSU Extension articles by the duo include “Water Is the Essential Ingredient in Keeping Your Farm-Grown Christmas Tree Fresh” and “Living Christmas Trees: Another Real Tree Option.”

Also, if you want to learn about Christmas tree care in just a few seconds, they’ve worked with Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications to put together a collection of videos explaining it in the following playlist:

(Check out the rest of the playlist here)

In addition, visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website for information on where to buy trees as well as other helpful tips.

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Do your homework before going Christmas tree shopping

It’s that time of year. It’s already December and before you know it, Christmas with be here. Decorating is a big part of the holiday. Many of you will go out this weekend looking for that perfect tree. And what better place than Michigan?

A recent Michigan State University Extension news article by Bert Cregg, MSU associate professor in the departments of Horticulture and Forestry, and Jill O’Donnell, senior Extension educator, says that Michigan’s climate and soils allow our Christmas tree growers to produce a wider variety of trees than almost any other state. Unfortunately, sometimes having many choices can cause shoppers to become overwhelmed and confused.

Not to worry, the article “Selecting the Perfect Christmas Tree: Tree Types” will serve as a guide to help you select the right tree for you and your family. Who doesn’t get annoyed when fallen needles cover wrapped presents under the tree? This article lets you know which trees have good needle retention. You may have furry friends that just won’t leave the tree alone. Bert and Jill will let you know which tree keeps pets at bay.

Included in the article are photos of each tree species as well as videos that give details about some of them.

Other helpful and timely MSU Extension articles are “Picking and Caring for the Perfect Christmas Tree” by Extension educator Erin Lizotte and Jill, and “Keeping Your Real Christmas Tree Fresh This Holiday Season” by Jill and Bert.

It’s great to have this expertise available to us at the click of the mouse on our MSU Extension website. And I’ve seen links to them on several social media sites in Michigan and beyond. This is a great example of using the news articles on our website to get out information that people are seeking, and answering questions from many more people than we would get just from telephone calls to county Extension offices in the past.

In addition, visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website for information on where to buy trees as well as other helpful tips.

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Take Extension educator’s advice on recycling your Christmas tree

Many of you chose a fresh Michigan pine or spruce to pose as the stately center of your festivities this holiday season. Now the celebrations have ceased, and what was once the focus of attention and symbol of good cheer heads for the compost pile.

Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension educator, offers up a fresh idea for your not-so-fresh tree. She suggests using boughs from the tree to protect your shrubs and perennials from hungry deer, especially now that we have an accumulation of snow over much of our landscape.

I will confess that I count on those hungry deer to help prune the rose bushes in my back yard, but there are some arborvitae I’d just as soon shape with my own pruning and not the browsing range of deer. So I’ll try protecting them as Rebecca has suggested. Still, if their mouths are tough enough to handle thorny roses, I’m wondering how pine and fir needles can deter them.

Find her helpful advice and accompanying photo on our MSU Extension website at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/recycle_your_fresh_christmas_tree_and_protect_against_deer_browse.

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Buy real, buy local and make this a real Michigan Christmas

You can help both the local economy and the environment this year by purchasing Michigan-grown Christmas trees and poinsettias.

 Michigan ranks third among the states in Christmas tree production and seventh in poinsettia production. Buying locally grown trees and plants not only gives a boost to our local economy but it helps the environment as well. You may be under the impression that it’s better for the environment to purchase an artificial tree than to chop down a real one. But artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins. Natural trees are renewable and recyclable, and poinsettias can be easily composted.

 A USDA grant is funding a new marketing campaign called “Make It a Real Michigan Christmas” that promotes buying real Christmas trees and poinsettias from local growers. Visit realmichiganchristmas.com for loads of information on everything from caring for trees and poinsettias to finding a local tree retailer to learning how trees and plants boost your mood.

 Michigan State University associate professor in the departments of Horticulture and Forestry Bert Cregg talked with Kirk Heinze on “Greening of the Great Lakes” about the campaign and about Christmas tree production in Michigan. Tune in to find out not only about the industry but also how to choose and care for your tree.

 The show will air at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on WJIM-1240 AM in Lansing, WNEM-1250 AM in Saginaw, WMMI-830 AM in Mount Pleasant and WKLQ-1490 AM in Muskegon. It will also air at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on WJRW-1340 AM in Grand Rapids and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on WJR-760 AM in Detroit.

 You can also click here to listen online at any time or to read more about it.

 Visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website for more information about buying and caring for trees.

 Michigan is such a beautiful place, it practically sells itself. Promoting the combination of locally grown poinsettias and Christmas trees is like Pure Michigan times two.

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MSU Exension team annual reports win awards

Lovejoy, Steveby Steve Lovejoy, associate direct of programming for MSU Extension

As MSU Extension faces a major budget crisis, an important criterion for our future is our ability to tell the story of all the great educational programs we conduct, and all the assistance we provide to individuals, families, businesses and communities. One important venue for creating and delivering knowledge has been our area of expertise Teams. Over the past three years, teams have been asked to increase the reporting of the impacts of their educational initiatives, including quantitative measures of behavioral changes. Teams submit calendar-year reports that are due the following spring (be sure to log in to the portal before clicking that link). Teams are also being asked to develop logic models for their program area in order to clearly state the stakeholder need, the outputs and the desired changes or impacts. One manifestation of this increase in reporting has been more complete annual reports from each team. We hope that teams use this process not only as a reporting tool but also as an effective planning tool for their programming. Congratulations to all the teams for a job well done!

We recently finished the evaluation of the annual reports for 2008 and I am pleased to announce the Teams that won awards for their 2008 annual reports.
Best Annual Report: Land Use Team
Best Reporting of Quantitative Measures: Animal Agriculture and the Environment Team
Best Effort at Promoting Diversity: Christmas Tree Team
Most Improved: Consumer Horticulture Team

Each of these awards, in addition to the prestige and bragging rights, carries a financial reward that is added to the team’s base budget. Please join me in congratulating these four teams for their extraordinary efforts.

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Filed under Agriculture, Awards, Budget, Farming, Guest bloggers, Land use, Uncategorized