Potted Christmas Trees — Is it Worth it?

Each holiday season, I think about getting a live, potted Christmas tree. I keep thinking that it would sure save a lot of money because we should be able to use it as a Christmas tree for a few years — as
long as I can keep it alive. Then when it grows too big to be a Christmas tree, we could either plant it in the yard, in the community or in the forest. But could I keep it alive?

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This year, I did some research to help me make the decision of whether or not to purchase one. Here are three important factors that I based my decision upon:

  • Most potted Christmas trees have only a 50-50 chance of surviving the move from indoors to the landscape, even with proper care.
  • Larger trees are more prone to go into transplant shock than smaller ones, so if you do purchase one, go for a smaller tree.
  • The tree should not be in the house any longer than 7-10 days.

With the price of live, potted Christmas trees being so high, I am thinking twice after knowing this information. For one thing, I’m used to being able to take the Christmas tree down at my leisure,
with no time constraints. There is enough to do at Christmas time that I don’t want to add another time demanding task. But, if you decide you still want to give it a try, here’s some information about growing them.

To Plant or Not to Plant

If you decide to keep your tree in its` container, you will need to water it religiously. This is extremely important. Keeping it in its container will give you time to think about where you want to plant it in the spring. You may even want to try and keep growing it in the container for next Christmas. Remember that it can not stay in the house longer than 7-10 days. You’ll need to place the potted tree out in your yard.

At planting time, plant the tree the same depth at which it was growing. Water well and mulch to help protect from hard freezes. If you live where the ground freezes, dig your hole before it`s frozen,
set the tree in the hole and surround the roots with mulch until spring when you can properly plant it after the ground thaws. Stake the tree to prevent wind damage.

Where to Plant

Because of the pyramid shape of pine trees, the best place to plant one in your yard is in a corner. Here it will take up less space of your yard. Of course, you can plant it anywhere you want, but remember that most of these trees can grow huge in 20 or 30 years. Look around before you plant for power lines or rooftops that the tree may come in contact with after it grows very tall. Garden centers usually offer dwarf varieties also; be sure to check the label for size, zones and growing requirements.

I hope this article gives you enough information for making the decision of whether or not to purchase a live potted Christmas tree.

Article written by Monia Resinger. Reprinted with permission.

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