Posted in Tidbits

Keeping the tree green?

Back when I was a kid, my father routinely used to add crushed aspirin to the water reservoir for out Christmas trees, claiming that it kept the tree greener during the twelve (or whatever) days of Christmas. Many other people swear by this trick, but does it really work?

As an aside, I lived for quite a few years in a place where many Christmas trees were farmed and I always felt a bit sad for all those thousands of trees that would be uprooted and then be burned, or allowed to dry up and die after only a few days in someone’s living room. Accordingly, I rather think that the best way to keep a Christmas tree green is to leave it in the ground… Still, if you belong to that evil cohort of vicious tree-murderers, you may be interested in the whole aspirin thingie…

Basically, as my father explained it, the ‘wintergreen’ in certain evergreens (which is partly responsible for the color), is a chemical more properly known as Methyl Salicylate… Now, right away, the more scientifically inclined among you will probably have seen the connection between that chemical name, and the Salicylic Acid in A.S.A, or ‘Aspirin’. It seems, if you subscribe to the theory, that the salicylic acid in the crushed aspirin will help the tree maintain its level of wintergreen and thus remain greener for much longer.

Well, I used repeat this theory as gospel for many years and I daresay that those to whom I passed on this wisdom dispensed it to others as well. As it happens, though, many of those who can actually claim some expertise in this area have concluded that the practice *probably* doesn’t do anything at all.

Still, even if it doesn’t do anything as far as the tree-color goes, it likely does no harm, and may even prevent the tree from experiencing stress-headaches over the gloomy prospect of its inevitable fate. One could, I suppose, also try putting Viagara in the water on the same basic reasoning that it *might* help keep the boughs from drooping. I’m not sure about that one, though… aspirin is at least cheap, and few of us would want to squander a precious ‘blue-pill’ supply over anything but our own, ahem, Yule logs …

Merry Christmas!

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