Posted by: Dahni | December 10, 2008

Go Green and Go Orange


   For those of you that really want to ‘Go Green’ there is still time, but why notGo Orange as well! 


   I am referring to a Christmas tree or if you prefer, holiday and seasonal greenery. Maybe this is an annual and traditional thing with you to go to a tree farm and cut down your own tree. Maybe you just pick up a cut tree from a local lot. OK, so perhaps, you want a live tree to be planted later. If you are artificially minded, it could still be green and orange too. Say what? Green and orange, that sounds strange, unless maybe, you are Irish and you wish to reflect these same colors in your decorating as are in your National flag. Nope, this is not the meaning. 


   Until this year, I come from a long line of Scotch pine, tree decorators for the season. Perhaps this was, a Midwest thing, where I was born and raised. I now live in New York, where this tree is not as popular. In fact, I cannot ever seem to find them here.  


   I am a ‘real tree’ person, but concede there are reasons, good reasons to ‘Go Artificial.’ Save a tree and all the Eco, really ‘Go Green’stuff, no mess to clean up afterwards and others are, just a few of the reasons. Well hey, I’m into Eco friendly and ‘Go Green’ stuff too!  


   We buy the tree that pays the tree farmer so they ‘breathe better’ because, they can feed their families. We decorate the tree which makes my wife and me happy and making her happy, makes me breathe a little easier. A tree inside provides an interesting distraction to our two cats, which burn more energy which means, we buy more food that employs people that can then breathe better. We buy extra vacuum bags and sometimes tree bags to clean up the mess after the holidays and that employs people that ‘breath better,’ having a job. Sometimes, after the holidays, we just cut the tree into pieces and burn it in the fireplace, which produces heat and saves money on our heating bills. Burning our leftover tree also pollutes the environment which makes Al Gore and global warmers happy and employed and breathing easier. Oh, and if our tree goes to the landfill, it breaks down and serves as nutrients to new life that can breathe better by having more CO2, which they in turn give off more oxygen (O2).  


   Well, anyway, this year, my wife and I discovered a new way to Go Green and Go Orangefor Christmas, the holidays or the season. We discovered a Concolor Fir or also known as, a White fir!




White fir: Pinaceae Abies concolor (Gord. & Glend.) Lindl. ex Hildebr. 

Symbol: ABCO


Leaf: Flattened needles, silvery blue-green both above and below, 2 to 3 inches long, blunt at the tip, extending at right angles from the twig, often curving upwards. White bloom may be distributed evenly or may occur in distinct bands on both surfaces.
Flower: Monoecious; males yellow- to red-toned, catkin-like; females inconspicuous, yellow-brown.
Fruit: Cones are upright, 3 to 5 1/2 inches long, oblong, yellow-green to purple, with erose shoulders; deciduous at maturity with seed dispersal in fall.
Twig: Twigs are dark orange at first, becoming gray-green, then gray. Leaf scars are circular.
Bark: Thin, smooth and gray on young trees, with resin pockets. On old trees, thick, ashy gray with deep, irregular furrows.
Form: Young trees are conical. Older trees develop a dome-like crown.


   These trees withstand heat and drought better than other Firs. Although they prefer a deep, rich moist, well-drained gravel or sandy loam, they will adapt to almost all soils except heavy wet clay. They are native to the Four Corners region of the Southwest and into California, so they are very adaptable to drought. Growers report that they have not had problems growing them in somewhat sandy fields. They need full sun to become bushy, shiny blue-gray giants. In the shade, they are sparse and pale and will not realize their potential to become full, beautiful trees. They grow 30-50 feet in height in that many years, but may grow bigger in very optimal conditions, over a long period of time. 


   The plant gets no serious diseases or insects and is really a great, but often underused plant in the landscape. However, White fir is severely damaged by mistletoe. Isn’t that interesting! So, even though the tree is cut, maybe you should consider NOT decorating your tree with mistletoe? You will just need to do your kissing under the mistletoe at some other location. 🙂


   The Concolor has soft needles that look blue-gray and are so very striking when planted in a landscape. They are stately, pyramid shaped evergreens with distinct horizontal branches. Like most firs, they are fragrant, but unlike most firs they can grow well in our hot summer climate and are very drought tolerant.


   They are really liked by many people and are used in arrangements. When dried, the needles make a nice potpourri addition for a seasonal appearance and aroma. Some people place small pieces in with artificial garlands on the mantle and hutch and wherever else they can tuck them. 

   Because the wood lacks a distinctive odor, it was used in earlier times for tubs in which to store butter. White fir is important to many species of wildlife. Blacktail and mule deer feed on the buds and leaves during the winter, porcupines eat the bark, and Douglas pine squirrels are fond of the seeds. Grouse may also eat seeds after they fall from the cones.

   Blah, blah, blah, nice and informative, but what has this got to do with ‘Going Orange?  Oh I’m sorry, they smell like Orange!  


    When the tree is standing in your room and especially when the needle is broken in your hand, held and lifted to your nose, a citrus, orange or tangerine like smell is present.

    Besides this wonderful aroma, what other benefits are there to having a Concolor fir or White fir in your home, for Christmas, the holidays or the season? As a cut tree, it can last a long time. The sap and oils are much easier to remove from your hands than other evergreen trees. Some people are allergic to the smell of evergreen trees. Others have skin irritations to evergreen trees. Others have allergic reactions if they are pricked by the needles of evergreen trees. It is reported that this tree (the Concolor fir or White fir), cause fewer allergic reactions than other evergreen trees.  


   Even if you do Go Artificial,’ you can still Go Green and Go Orange.’ Use a green artificial tree if you must and light a candle, use potpourri or some air-freshener that smells like orange


Go Green and Go Orange’!!!



Just Imagine,



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