live christmas treesLet’s face it: the saddest part of the holidays is when you take down the Christmas tree. But it doesn’t have to be that way! For a few dollars more than the cost of a fresh-cut tree, you can buy a live evergreen — either container grown or balled and burlapped — and plant it in your garden after the holidays. It’s a great way to remember a special Christmas, such as the first in a new home or with a newborn baby.
Buy right Select a smaller tree because it will be cheaper, easier to move and plant. Run your hands through the needles. If any drop off, find another tree. Make sure the root ball is solid, free of cracks and doesn’t move independently of the stem.
Care and setup Live Christmas trees dry out quickly indoors; plan to keep one in your home no longer than three days. Or, you can extend the time to up to 10 days with a few simple steps. Before you bring the tree in, spray the foliage with an antidesiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf, and let it dry. Then, try to find a cool spot in the house for the tree — perhaps an entryway, sun room or other room with a lot of glass — and keep the thermostat at 66 degrees or lower. Place the tree in a pot or on a tray, water the root ball daily and keep the root ball covered with plastic. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators and heat ducts. Also, use a room humidifier, if you have one.
Planting If the ground will be frozen by late December, pre-dig a hole outside and store the soil in the garage. The hole should be just as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. At planting time, position the tree and backfill with soil. Add water and tamp soil to remove any air pockets. Cover the ground with mulch and double wrap the tree with burlap to protect the foliage from drying winds the first winter.