Some yardeners prefer to have a live Christmas tree for the holidays so they are able to plant the tree outside to offer pleasure for decades. The first question is, what kind of tree makes the best live tree? The answer in part is determined by which species are being sold in your neighborhood garden centers.
In any case, unlike folks buying a cut tree that will be thrown away after the holiday, you need to give special attention to how big your cute little live tree is going to get 20 years from now. You need to be sure you have the space to grow that tree you intend to plant after Christmas.
Again, unlike the folks buying the cut tree, you are not limited to having a species of tree traditionally used at Christmas such as the Scotch pine or blue spruce. You can use almost any evergreen tree that you feel is attractive and will work best later on in the home landscape. So the trees to consider as live trees are evergreens, which include arborvitae, junipers, Canadian hemlock, Scotch pine, white pine, blue spruce, Douglas fir, Balsam fir and red cedar.
Dig the hole early on
Just in case there is a cold spell and causes the ground to freeze around Christmas time, it is wise to dig your hole for the live tree before then. Fill it with leaves to keep it from freezing.
When you get your tree, store it in an unheated but sheltered area such as a garage or porch, out of the wind and sun. Do not expose your tree to freezing temperatures.
This is important: Under normal circumstances your live tree should not be kept inside your heated home for more than 10 days, and seven days is better, so plan accordingly. Many live Christmas trees die by spring because the owner wanted to have the tree indoors “just for a few more days.” However, there is now a product on the market that will allow you to keep your live tree safely indoors for up to two weeks.
Going by the name Vacation, http://tinyurl.com/yean6qz, this is a natural chemical drought treatment that when used with watering your live Christmas tree, you do not have to water it at all for the two weeks it’s in the house, with no harm coming to the tree. Wiegand’s Nursery, (586) 286-3655, in Macomb Township carries Vacation.
Mulch is critical, too
When you do take the tree outside again, take it back to the sheltered area first for a few days and then you can move it out into the cold, cruel world.
See my Web site, www.yardener.com, for instructions on how to plant a tree. A 3-inch layer of mulch is critical to prevent your tree’s roots from freezing too quickly. Water so the soil is moist, but do not flood the tree or it will die.