How to Plant a LIVE Christmas Tree

In recent years, a popular trend has been to choose a live Christmas tree to have inside your home, then after the holiday season is complete, you plant the tree in your garden. This can be a particularly sweet memory if you are commemorating the birth or life of a loved one.

Dig a Hole in Advance

In the northern states it can be too cold to dig a big hole after Christmas. Therefore, you must plan in advance and dig a hole earlier so that you are able to drop the tree in place after the season is complete. Dig a hole that is 1 ½ to 2 feet in diameter and 18 to 22 inches deep.

Save the soil that you have dug in large bins in a place where the soil cannot freeze. Save it for when you replant the tree and need to backfill the soil.

Choosing the Tree

Keeping the root ball intact and in good shape is absolutely the best secret of bringing in a LIVE Christmas tree to enjoy. Inspect the rootball carefully and make sure it is intact, you might have to remove the burlap wrapped around it to see more clearly. When choosing the tree, it should be green and fresh smelling. The branches will be flexible and not come off easily. Most importantly, the root ball needs to be moist and well-watered.

Caring for the Tree

Bring the tree home and place it in a watertight container of some sort in a cool location away from wood stoves, heating vents, and fireplaces. Moisture is the tree's friend in the unnatural environment of your living room. If you are concerned about dryness, wrap the root ball in moistened sphagnum moss. It is very important that you water the tree every day in order to keep the root ball consistently moist. Secure firmly before adding decorations. Wrapping fabric around the container can hide its industrial nature and be attractive indoors.

Transition the Tree

Placing the tree, which has grown accustomed to your living room environment, into a shock of super cold, can place the tree in shock. It is better to gradually transition the tree. After Christmas, move the tree to the garage and keep it inside for 3 to 4 days until it gets used to the colder temperatures.

Plant the Tree

When you are ready to plant the tree, cut away the burlap and basket. Place the tree inside the hole, being sure that the area on the trunk that touches the root ball is just slightly above the soil. Shovel in the backfill soil and tamp it all down. Tamping down is very important because a lot of air around the roots can cause the roots to become freeze-dried in the cold. Do not fertilize until the spring.

Mulch the Tree

After you have planted, mulch the tree well with about 3-inches of chipped wood or whatever organic mulch you prefer. Mulch functions as a soil insulator and will help regulate the soil temperature. After mulching, water the area very well.

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