How to Care for a Living Christmas Tree
‘Tis the season to decorate for the holidays and indoor trees are a tradition. But the newest tradition is that of being Eco-friendly by using living Christmas trees. Not only is a living tree prettier since it won’t fade, but it is more stable and less dangerous than cut trees that dry quickly and become highly flammable. Plus you get the benefit of using it again next year (which makes it a good buy) or adding it to your outdoor landscape where it can grow into a handsome shade tree.
Keep your living Christmas tree well watered, but let the very surface dry out. You want your tree to stay fresh and healthy for the holidays, but you don’t want it soggy enough to rot the roots.
Stand your holiday tree on a tray to protect your floors from water stains. Add some stones or pebbles inside the tray so the tree doesn’t sit in its own drained water. You want the roots to be able to breathe through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. The stones will also break up the drained moisture allowing it to evaporate into the air adding moisture to the usually very dry household air – something any living plant will appreciate indoors.
Place it where it gets the most light possible. A window is a good spot where you can enjoy your decorated living tree from both inside and out.
After the holidays are over, move it to a shady location outdoors. You can grow it on in either sun or shade, but give it a week to acclimate to being outside without sun first. Your living Christmas tree has been used to the relative dark of indoor living. If the tree is drying out fast and you can see the pot has become too small, move it up to one size larger pot in the spring.
Or plant it in the ground after the holidays. Harden off your Christmas tree by moving the pot outdoors as if it were going to stay potted for use for next year. This way it gets acclimated to being outdoors before it goes through the stress of planting. After a couple of weeks you can set it in the ground. Make sure you find out what kind of tree your are purchasing when you buy it so you can choose a site where your living tree will have room to grow to its full, lofty size. Most Christmas trees are varieties that will grow from forty feet to over a hundred feet tall!
Your living tree can give you years of use as a potted holiday tree or decorate your landscape for a lifetime. If you want something smaller, check out some of the trimmed shrubs now being used for Christmas trees like rosemary or boxwood.
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