How To Pick (and take care of) A Live Christmas Tree

How To Pick (and take care of) A Live Christmas Tree

ByGroovy Green Nov 28, 2006

When selecting a tree “go live”. When the holidays are over it can be habitat for small mammals and birds. They provide shelter and beauty not to mention clean air. It is a green choice for sure.

There are a few important considerations when dealing with a live tree.A live tree comes with roots and therefore is heaver than a cut tree, obvious huh? Well don’t let a little extra weight get in your way. I use a wooden furniture dolly to wheel our tree around. Your local nursery will bring in live trees and often take the balled & burlapped trees and pot them up for easier handling. Some nurseries will just grow the trees in containers. Once you have chosen the perfect tree and you have brought it home you can’t just place it in the corner of the room right away. Follow these steps for best success:

  • Gradually introduce your living tree from outside to inside over three or four days either in a garage or enclosed porch. This slow introduction to the interior of your home is to allow the gentle acclimation to the increased temperature of your warm home. A tree that has already gone dormant and exposed to immediate warmth has the potential to start new growth. Although this might look cool once the tree is returned to the wilds of nature the new growth will most definitely freeze.
  • While the tree acclimating in the garage check for spiders, insects and insect egg masses, as well as squirrels and the occasional black bear. Remove any stowaways before bringing the tree inside.
  • When choosing a location to place your tree, try and avoid a placement near a heating vent. The direct exposure to that hot air doesn’t do much for the moisture content of the needles.
  • Place the tree in a large galvanized tub including root ball. (I have also used a decorative pot without a hole) This tub stabilizes the tree and ball (or pot) and confines water and needles into a more manageable and cleanable space. To keep the tree upright be sure to stabilize the root-ball with rocks or bricks.
  • If you chose a balled-in-burlap tree, add mulch around the ball, this helps maintain the moisture. as often as necessary to moisten the roots but not soggy.
  • Do not leave it inside longer than 7-10 days, any longer it will cause it to dry out too much.
  • Reintroduction of your tree to its natural elements should be done with care. Move the tree back put to the garage for a few days and then move it outside to its final home. If you live in an area where the soil freezes dig the soil ahead of time.
  • Some of you may not have space to plant the tree when you are done. Realize that most trees sold as Christmas trees do grow quite large, so do your research ahead of time. Don’t plant them close to the house or beneath power lines. Planting it on the north side of the house will help protect your home from those cold winter winds. I have a friend that has a large lot and is happy to have new trees added to his property. Look for other opportunities to plant the tree, consider talking to your local parks department, city properties, or garden clubs to find a home for your tree.

Happy Planting!