Way to Check and Care of Live Christmas Trees

In recent years, the popularity of live or live Christmas trees has increased. But many of these trees do not survive the festive season. Knowing how to choose, plant and care for a living Christmas tree will make a happier holiday and valuable addition to your landscape.

When buying your living tree, be sure to choose a variety that grows well in your area. Take into account the mature height and width of the tree and know where you are going to plant it in your landscape.

The most common tree species used for live Christmas trees are spruce, pine and fir, although many garden centers market each cone-shaped tree as an Option for Christmas. Although they are not considered “traditional” options, they may be the best option for your area.

Before you bring the tree home, be sure to purchase healthy stocks. Many of the trees sold at Christmas could be leftovers from previous seasons OR be in poor condition.

Check the tree for good color and needle retention, soft and flexible branching, and a root system if you can see it that is not “bound” by its container. The root zone should be moist and not too dry due to lack of water. Also check for signs of ailments or damage caused by pests.

Once your tree comes home, it should stay outside in a protected area until a few days before Christmas.

Water the tree immediately and make sure that the soil is kept moist but not damp. It should also be protected from strong wind and full sun. The goal for this period is to accustom your tree to warmer temperatures over a period of three to four days. Moving the tree to a covered veranda or Garage in the meantime is a good transitional place.

Many people choose to spray their living tree with an anti-desiccant or anti-wilt product. These products help retain valuable moisture in the tree and reduce the loss of conifers once the tree is moved indoors. If you choose this option, do it before the tree moves inward and while it gets used to the warmer temperatures. These products are sold under various names, including Wilt Pruf and Cloud Cover.

Avoid the temptation to bring your tree into the house too early. In fact, the less time inside, the better.

A day or two before Christmas is the best, but no more than a week! Your Home is an inhospitable environment for a living Tree. The air-conditioned houses are warm and dry. Do not place your tree near vents, radiators, ovens or anywhere else where the heat can dry out your tree and stimulate new growth. Be sure to keep an eye on the floor and keep it moist. When the Clod is wrapped in burlap, place it in a large tub and add mulch to the top of the burlap to retain moisture.

Move your tree outside as soon as possible after Christmas. However, do not plant it immediately. The tree needs to adapt to nature for several days in a protected area. Again, avoid direct sun, strong winds and hot areas when storing your tree. Be sure to maintain the soil moisture. Move your tree into the planting hole in your landscape in a week or 10 days.

A good idea is to have already prepared the planting site. This is especially important in those parts of the country where the soil may already be frozen. Plant this tree like any other, following solid planting practices. The hole should be at least twice as wide as the Clod, but not deeper.

If you plant your tree a little higher than the surrounding soil, it will help to drain. It is not advisable to fill your planting hole with organic matter. Instead, backfill with the original soil.

Finally, you need to water and mulch your tree to retain moisture. Continue to monitor the soil moisture. Winter conditions can be very dry and your plants and trees now need water, especially newly planted ones. Proper care and planning before and after the holiday will help your tree survive for years.

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