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Article: Living Christmas Trees

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

There's no family tradition more satisfying than having a living Christmas tree to plant outdoors after the holidays and watch grow into a towering giant as the years go by. Special occasions like baby's first Christmas, the year Johnny graduated from high school or the first year in the new house are made more memorable by planting a living Christmas tree. At Pine Tree Nursery we select locally grown and freshly dug living Christmas trees to assure success. Indoor temperatures and low humidity are extremely drying conditions for the living evergreen, and the addition of lights and proximity to fireplaces or woodstoves adds to the drying problem. We strongly recommend that a living Christmas tree remain in the house no more than five days, with lights on the tree used minimally and temperatures kept as low as possible. Our living Christmas trees are always sprayed with an anti-desiccant as preparation for sale. In the home, the tree should stand in a waterproof container to avoid harming interior surfaces, and the root ball bathed daily with adequate moisture to keep it wet, yet not sitting in water. Submerging the root ball for a half hour or so before bringing the tree indoors is helpful, as long as the root ball is firm enough to stay intact when saturated. Living Christmas trees can be heavy, particularly when wet, and require a lot of muscle to handle easily and properly. Plan ahead for planting the tree by preparing the hole for it before the ground freezes. Dig the hole larger than the root ball and backfill the hole and cover the prepared planting mix with leaves and then plastic. This will keep the hole and soil from freezing and make planting possible even in the coldest weather. Plant the living Christmas tree immediately after removal from the house and water thoroughly. Mulch heavily (the leaves will work) to keep the ground from freezing solid so the tree can continue to take up moisture throughout the winter. It is also critical to keep the tree watered thoroughly throughout the entire first summer, as it will just be getting rooted and will still be vulnerable to dangerous drying situations. Favorite varieties of living Christmas trees with Pine Tree customers over the years have been blue spruce, concolor fir and frazer fir. With proper handling, our trees are fully guaranteed for one year. What better way to share a memory!

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