So you saw a Christmas tree on sale, bought it, and decided to plant it after the holidays. A live Christmas tree is always a more rewarding, environmentally friendly decision than a cut one. You get to enjoy a Christmas tree on this beloved holiday tradition, and when it’s over, you can replant your tree and enjoy it for years to come.
Getting a potted evergreen to serve as a Christmas tree and a yard tree is quite possible. However, it will be a bit of a challenge. Most trees thrive when they’re planted right after purchasing and during the cool autumn months. This doesn’t mean you can’t get this plan to work for you.
The key to successful planting is timing. Buy the Christmas tree as close to the holiday as you can, and leave it indoors for as brief a period as possible. You should also prepare a spot outside for planting before the ground freezes over so hard you won’t be able to dig.
How To Plant Your Christmas Tree
Before buying the tree, you want to replant, consider digging the hole you’ll be planting the Christmas tree. Chances are the ground hasn’t yet frozen over but by the time Christmas rolls by, you’ll have a frozen ground that’ll be nearly impossible to dig. So having your hole ready will improve the chances of your tree’s survival.
When you go to buy the Christmas tree, make sure you purchase a live tree that still has the root ball intact. Usually, the root ball comes covered with a piece of burlap. If the tree is cut from the root ball, you won’t be able to plant it outside. So make sure that the trunk and the root ball aren’t damaged. You should also consider buying a smaller tree as it’ll find it easier to make the transition from outdoors to indoors and back out again.
If your plan is to replant your Christmas tree outside as soon as the holiday’s end, you should know that you wouldn’t enjoy it indoors for as long as you would a cut tree. This is because you’re putting your live Christmas tree at risk when you live it indoors for too long. Accept the fact that your Christmas tree won’t stay in the house longer than 1 or 1 and half weeks. Any longer and the chances of your tree being able to adapt to outside conditions reduces.
After you purchase your tree, you want to keep it in a sheltered and cold place. When you bought the tree, it was harvested in the cold and had gone into a dormant state. You want to keep it in that dormant stare for as long as possible to improve its chances of surviving to replant. Leave it in a cold place outdoors until you’re ready to bring it indoors. Once it’s in the house, put it in a draft-free area away from vents and heaters. Keep the root ball wrapped in wet sphagnum moss or plastic. The root ball needs to remain damp the entire time the tree is indoors. Some people recommend watering daily or using ice cubes to keep the root ball moist.
After the holiday, move the tree back outside. Take it back to the cold, sheltered area for about two weeks so it can re-enter its dormant start especially if it has started coming out of dormancy. After the two weeks period, you’re ready to start planting. Remove the burlap or any other covering on the root ball. Slowly place the tree in the hole you dug, and backfill it. Once that’s done, cover the hole with several inches of mulch. Remember to water the tree. Wait until spring before you fertilize.
If you’re still not sure about planting, here’s a look at the pros and cons.
- They last for a year – as long as they’re properly taken care of, add beauty to your yard and act as a habitat for birds.
- They are more environmentally friendly.
- It is less messy as you won’t have to deal with falling needles.
- It is easier to set up and it’s much more stable.
- You won’t be able to leave it indoors for more than ten days otherwise you may not be able to replant
- It requires more thought and planning (but the reward is always worth the effort).
- A live tree weighs more than a cut tree – because of its root ball and/or container – meaning you won’t be able to get anything grand.