December 2018
Christmas Tree Tips

By now most of you have gotten your live Christmas tree.  If you've put up that artificial or fake one, shame on you!  There is truly nothing like the smell and natural appearance of a fresh Fraser fir, Norway spruce, white pine or other live tree.  That penetrating fir odor when you walk in the house and the look of that natural tree beautifully decorated, truly gets everyone in the Christmas spirit. Besides, by using a live tree, you are supporting local growers here in western North Carolina.   Here is a great link to the many North Carolina Christmas Tree Farms that offer hours of fun for the family and a place to buy the perfect Christmas tree.    

If you haven't placed your live tree in the stand yet, do make sure you make a new straight cut on the base of the tree.  Be sure you use a stand that will hold at least one gallon of water.  Do check your stand's water level frequently.  A fresh tree with a new cut can take up to one gallon of water on the first day.  Usually after that, it takes about a quart a day, but keep checking the level and don't let it dry out.  Just fresh water is what works best, no preservatives or additives in the water is needed.

Below are a few safety reminders for the Holidays:  

December Garden Calendar

Plants in Flower
  • Witch Hazel
  • Indoors: Amaryllis, Cyclamen, Poinsettia
Plants with Colorful Berries
  • American Beautyberry, Burford Holly, Chinese Holly, Foster Holly, Nellie R. Stevens Holly, Nandina, Pyracantha, and Washington Hawthorn.
  • Prune berry producing plants if berries are desired in table arrangements over the holidays.
  • Remove "weed" or undesirable trees from your landscape.
Lawn Care
  • Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn.
Specific Chores
  • Put pine needles or wheat/barley straw over your strawberry plants.
  • Greenery will last longer if sprayed with an antitranspirant.
  • Keep your cut Christmas tree in water throughout the holiday season.
  • Order fruit trees and grape vines for February or March planting, if not already done

4-H Gingerbread House Contest
For:  Ages 5-18 
When:  Drop off entries by 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Where:  N.C. Cooperative Extension-Alexander County Center
  • Entries may be picked up beginning Wednesday, December 12th at noon and must be picked up by noon on Thursday, December 13th.
  • Entries may be placed on a base not more than 20"x20", and cannot exceed 2 ft. in height.
  • NO decorations (icing, candy, etc.) may be placed on the side of the base.
  • The ENTIRE display except the base must be made of edible materials (Styrofoam or other support materials are not permitted). Edible items could include: gingerbread, graham crackers, icing, candies, nuts, cereal, etc. No items should be in a wrapper, stick, or non-edible material. Structures could be but are not limited to: house, barn, birdhouse, doghouse or lighthouse.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, decorating detail, and theme in the following age categories: 8-under, 9-13, 14-18 years old.
  • Prizes for each category: 1st place-$15 4-H Scholarship, 2nd place-$10 4-H Scholarship.

2019  NC Farm School - Foothill s Location
Cattle - Ma rch 19th
Small Ruminant - April 19th
Pastured Poultry - April 23rd
Small Fruit - May 14th
Market Garden - May 28th

For more information go the the website at:  

Alexander County Offices will be closed on the following dates:

Thursday, November 22
Friday, November 23

Monday, December 24
Tuesday, December 25
Wednesday, December 26

  New Year's    
Tuesday, January 1

We would like to wish each of you a wonderful Holiday Season!!!
 Read more N.C. Cooperative Extension news at >>
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