The 10-day weather forecast looks exceptional.  This week would be a great time to finish your fall yard clean-up, hang your holiday lights and complete your spruce tops pots!  Recall days of getting up on a ladder in the freezing, sleety snow to hang lights and pounding your spruce tops into frozen pots.  No, thank you!

Here are a few tips to ensure you are successful with your tree top pots, this year and every year.  After all, they will be in your life until the pansies are ready to go out, and we hate to say it, but that is usually the end of  March.

Rice hulls from Tonkadale GreenhouseAt Tonkadale, we fill our spruce top pots with rice hulls.  They are simply the hulls of rice.  Rice hulls are inert and don’t provide nutrition for plant growth, so at the end of the winter season just dump them in the garden and use as a soil amendment.  The reason we use these is because they hold the spruce tops nice and tight, have great water holding capacity and freeze nice and solid.  And yes, you will need to water your spruce top pots until they freeze solid.  Raise your right hand and take the pledge: “I will water my spruce top pots until they freeze solid.”

After you give your spruce tops, greens, twigs and anything else that was once living a fresh cut, they will continue to take up water until they freeze solid.  This helps keep them fresh and green.  We recommend using a hand pruner or a lopper to give them a trim; they are great tools to have in your tool box anyway.

For a 12-inch pot, you will need 8-10 spruce tops.  Start in the middle and insert your tallest and most handsome spruce top into the rice hulls or soil.  Work around the middle and insert shorter spruce tops in the north, south, east and west directions.  Add another layer around those guys.  Your goal is to have something that looks like a big, fluffy tree!

Wilt Stop at Tonkadale GreenhouseWhen you are all finished with the greens, spray your entire pot with Wilt Stop.  This product is a natural pine resin that coats the needles and keeps the moisture in.

Finally, the fun part: add twigs, cones (on a stick), berries and more.  Take a look around your yard and garden and see what might be useful: dried hydrangeas, pods or whatever suits you.  If you are stuck, come and see us for one of our workshops.

You will be the envy of the neighborhood as you plop the spruce top pot of your dreams out on the front steps.  As always, we are here to guide you on your spruce top pot journey.