A living Christmas tree—one that’s planted outdoors after the holidays—has become a tradition with many families to commemorate a birth or someone’s passing.
Purchase a live Christmas tree and plant it in your landscape after the holidays. Pre-dig a planting hole ahead because outdoor weather may not be suitable for digging. For safety sake, fill it with leaves or mulch to prevent freezing or cover it with a board or piece of plywood so no one accidentally falls into it.
Choose an evergreen species that grows well in your plant zone. Your choice includes eastern red cedar, white pine, Norway spruce, and Colorado blue spruce. Frasier fir (Abies frasieri), a very popular Christmas tree, prefers a cool mountain location above 3500 feet elevation (USDA hardiness zones 4-7) and will not be a good landscape tree. Over the past quarter century Leyland cypress has become a popular choice in warm parts of the Southeastern U.S.
Here are some planting steps:
- Examine the rootball and top (leader) before you purchase. Rootball for a 6-7 foot tree should measure 30 inches or more in diameter, tied, and wrapped tightly in cloth burlap.
- Dig a shallow hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
- Unload the tree and be careful not to damage the rootball.
- Place the rootball in a tub or container large enough to snugly support it.
- Water rootball if it feels dry to the touch; do not let tree stand in water.
- Tree should not stay indoors for more than 10 days.
- Use LED lights which emit little heat and are energy efficient.
- Inspect rootball moisture every 3 days.
- Move tree to an unheated garage or basement until you’re ready to plant outside.
- Plant outdoors in prepared hole, water and add 3 inches of an organic mulch around tree.