Christmas tree tips enhance enjoyment
Firstly, when choosing a fresh-cut tree for your home, there are a few basic guidelines to follow to create the best experience with your tree through the holidays.
Choose a tree that is supple, not crunchy-feeling, one that retains its needles when you gently squeeze a branch.
When you get it home, set up the stand where it will not have to be moved again. When everything is ready, cut 3 inches off the bottom of the trunk and set it in the stand straightaway. If you haven’t yet put water into it, do so immediately, before the tree has a chance to seal off the cut.
Keep water in the stand at all times, and your tree will do as well as it can. And, please, never leave a lighted tree unattended.
Fruit fly threatens region
Secondly, a potentially devastating pest has been discovered in Stockton, and we all must do what we can to prevent its spread.
A single male oriental fruit fly was found in a trap near Benjamin Holt Drive and Interstate 5 in Stockton. This has set off an 18-square-mile quarantine to the west for grape, fruit and walnut growers.
While we in Tracy aren’t subject to that quarantine (and let’s hope no further quarantines are needed), we still have a responsibility to prevent any further infestation.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office asks that we:
n Do not carry or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in produce;
n Never remove fresh produce from a property that is under quarantine;
n Double-bag green waste, such as garden fruits and vegetables, and place the double-bagged green waste in the trash;
n Cooperate fully with any quarantine restrictions or rules that might be imposed because of an oriental fruit fly find in the area, and allow authorized agricultural workers access to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation.
Our local economy is mainly agricultural, and we all have to do our part to protect it.
• Questions for Heather Hamilton, a University of California-certified master gardener, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org