LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE
Family traditions are a big part of the holiday season. Many families have created landscapes that are planted with evergreens from Christmas past. Properly planned, a live tree can be decorated, enjoyed and eventually planted.
Timing is important. You need to prepare the planting site while the ground is still workable. In our area the ground will not freeze until late November. Choose a spot that will provide the tree with full sun and well-drained soil. Be sure to dig to the same depth but 4-6” wider than the width of the tree to allow for root growth. You might want to store your backfill in a wheelbarrow that is sheltered in the garage until you need it. This will insure that the soil is workable.
It is also important to choose a variety of tree that will thrive in your area, keep in mind the mature size of the tree. It shouldn’t be brought directly from the cold outdoors into your home, and needs to be gradually introduced to the new environment. The tree should be stored in a sheltered, cool area that is away from wind and sun, but never exposed to freezing temperatures, an ideal location would be an unheated room or in a garage.
It is a good idea to spray the tree with an anti-desiccant or anti-wilt product. We carry WILTPRUF. This will ensure that the tree holds as many of its needles as possible and help retain moisture.
The tree will need plenty of water. The root ball should always be moist, but never wet. If the tree is balled and burlapped, the tree should be situated in a container in an upright position, you may need to enforce with rocks or bricks. Fill the space around the ball with mulch (bark, leaves or soil will work) to help it keep its moisture. Be sure to water the tree as soon as it seems dry.
Place the tree in a cool part of your home, away from any heat source to prevent drying. The tree may be decorated, but carefully so as not to cause any damage, and if you choose to use lights, make sure they don’t give off any heat.
It is important to limit the tree’s time indoors. Keep inside four days to a week at the most. It is also very important to gradually re-introduce your tree to the outdoors by placing it back into a sheltered area for a few days.
When planting it is recommended to remove the burlap completely before planting, as it can girdle the roots. Some people choose to leave the burlap on but it is necessary to cut away at least the top third of the burlap. Remove any string, tie or metal. Fill the hole with the soil from the planting hole. Do not use any amendments. Fertilizing is not necessary until the spring. Water well to eliminate any air pockets in the soil.