Christmas Tree Provides Valuable Information

Christmas Tree Provides Valuable Information

Christmas Tree Provides Valuable Information

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center Research Assistant, Katie McKeever, says that the Engelmann Spruce from the Colville National Forest, chosen as this year's Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., provided WSU researchers with valuable information during its 25 day trip across country.

MCKEEVER: Along with those moisture content values that we get, we also had these sensors in the tree. So they gave us insight into the conditions that the tree was traveling in as it went along the country - what temperatures, and what kind of light conditions. With those two pieces of information it kind of gives us an idea about what kind of moisture loss we could expect in what kind of environmental conditions.

McKeever explains what such data could be used for.

MCKEEVER: My PHD advisor, Dr. Gary Chastagner, has a years long program where he studies post harvest needle retention and moisture loss in Christmas trees. This program has helped to give information to growers to choose the best trees for quality and for moisture retention. Some species of Christmas tree are better at retaining needles and retaining moisture than other species, and even some seed sources or genotypes within species are better than others. So it helps growers understand what kind of species are best and what kind of provenances are best. It helps retailers understand how they can keep trees fresher for longer. So he provides information on how to treat trees and how to handle them after they're cut. It's our hope that this research is going to help to validate some of the recommendations that we've come up with through the years for growers, retailers and consumers. It's also a really good opportunity to bring our research to this national stage.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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