Christmas Tree Preservative
For those of you that are going to have a fresh-cut tree for the holidays, here's the recipe for the preservative I've been using for almost twenty years now. I originally found this on the website for the Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association http://www.ccffa-oswa.org
in Oregon. The page is long gone, but I've keep a copy of it in my documents for all of these years. Happy Holidays!
Keeping Your Christmas Tree Fresh by Jean McCloskey
Although here in the Pacific Northwest we have Christmas trees that are freshly cut (from our tree farm or a tree farm close by), there is still the problem of the trees drying out before we (or our children/grandchildren) are ready for them to come down. Last year, I received a formula for preserving trees from my brother in California, who is a Chevron retiree. He received it from his company's safety team.
The mixture is: Add the following to 2 gallons of HOT WATER: 2 cups of Karo syrup, 2 oz. of liquid bleach plus 2 pinches of Epsom salt, 1/2 teaspoon of Boraxo (all available at the grocery store), and 1 teaspoon of chelated iron (available at garden centers). Make a fresh cut at the bottom of the tree trunk and stand the tree in this solution until it is brought inside. After it is set up, use this solution for watering the tree.
Why does it work? The Karo syrup provides SUGAR, and it is only in the presence of sugar that tremendous amounts of water will be taken up by the exposed tissue at the base of the tree trunk. Thanks to the BORON (in the Boraxo), the water and sugar will be moved to every needle and branch of the tree - boron is what makes sugar move, not only in trees, but vegetables, fruits, and even houseplants. And the EPSOM SALTS and CHELATED IRON - Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and magnesium (together with iron) is the center molecule in the process we know as chlorophyll production. By making the magnesium and iron available to the tree, you're assuring yourself of green needles. The CHLORINE BLEACH? That stops the mold from forming when the sugar and water are combined.
In the article it was suggested that after the tree comes down, take a branch and try to burn it. I did - and it didn't burn. The formula does work!
From an article "Fireproofing the Cut Christmas Tree" provided by John Randolph, Chevron Shipping Company Safety Team.
Editor's Note: Forest-Tree Leader associate editor, Jean McCloskey, is a Clackamas County tree farmer.