The days of silver foil Christmas trees are over and people are once again returning to real trees. The most real tree of all is a living tree, roots and all, that you can plant outdoors after the holiday. In all but the warmest parts of the country, you will be looking at hardy evergreens – such as spruce, fir and pines – which are sold potted in containers, or balled and bur lapped.
If you have the yard space, it’s very rewarding to plant a tree each year and be able to look back and reminisce as the tree grows saying “We go that tree the year you were born.”
Live trees are not inexpensive so before you head out consider the following…..
1.Size: Think small. Really small. If you are use to a 7” tree commanding a quarter of your living room, think again. First of all subtract at least 18” from the height of the tree for the root ball – in other words, you would be decorating a 5’ tall tree. Then consider that you would need half a football team to carry the tree inside the house. A tree that size may weigh 100 pounds or more. Also, think about the pot that you are hoping to plant in. We suggest moving the planter into the home first and then setting the live tree inside once you have it positioned where you want it. Be prepared to move the potted tree outside once the holidays are over.
2.Time spent indoors: Evergreen trees don’t go completely dormant in winter, but they come close to it. If you bring the tree indoors for a month, it will start to break dormancy. Then when you plant it outside in January it may suffer freeze damage. Plan to keep it indoors for a week and no more than 10 days, preferably in the coolest room out of direct sunlight.
3.Future size: Most spruces, firs and pines get big, really big as in 50 to 100 feet tall. Can you yard accommodate such a large tree? You can keep the trees in the original container for a few years, but they will soon outgrow even the largest planters.
4. Containers: This is not the time to plant directly into the pot unless you plan on moving the whole potted tree onto the patio or porch. The best laid plan is to select a garden planter that you can just drop the tree directly into that is large enough and not tapered. That way the tree will go to the bottom of the pot. If it’s to tapered you will have a huge gap at the bottom. Also, try to go with a glazed pot that will not absorb water and possibly have the drain hole plugged.