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WSU News christmas tree

Capitol Christmas tree choice, coverage via WSU and 4-H

PULLMAN — For 35 years, the Capitol Christmas tree has been harvested from one of the 50 states and transported to Washington D.C. This year, Washington State is providing a majestic, picture-perfect, 45-year-old tree that will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. during the holidays.Gary Chastagner, a scientist at Washington State University’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center, played a role in its selection and care. WSU Extension’s 4-H Network News crew is chronicling the 65.5-foot-tall tree’s cross-country journey.Contacted last spring, Chastagner advised the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington Department of Natural Resources on the post-harvest moisture and needle retention characteristics … » More …

Researcher works to protect trees

The Christmas tree tradition supports a sizeable industry in Washington, and Gary Chastagner, a scientist at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center, works to make sure both tradition and industry remain strong.Sudden oak death, an exotic plant disease with the potential to kill some species of large oak trees, is Chastagner’s main concern.“At least 40 percent of the nation’s Christmas trees are produced in Washington state, and half of them are Douglas firs,” he said.While sudden oak death does not kill Douglas firs, the trees do make a viable host of for the disease. If the trees were infected and then sold across the country, … » More …

Puyallup leading int’l search for perfect Christmas tree

What makes an ideal Christmas tree?Most of us look for things like shape, fullness and good color, but Washington State University plant pathologist Gary Chastagner has some additional criteria.”For me, the ideal Christmas tree is one that’s relatively easy to grow in this region, has natural resistance to disease and pests, and has high moisture and needle retention once it’s cut,” Chastagner said. “The big thing is moisture retention, not just for appearances but because that means a more fire resistant tree.”From the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center Chastagner is leading an international search for superior Christmas trees, working with collaborators in three Scandinavian … » More …