From the Desk of Ed Hume: Living Christmas Trees

December 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Have you ever given any thought to having a living tree instead of a cut Christmas tree?  It’s a great value because it’s worth as much the day after Christmas as it is the day you purchase it!  Plus, a living tree can often be used for more than one year as a Christmas tree, providing additional savings for you.  In addition, the tree can be used outdoors in container plantings or planted and used as a landscape tree.  You can also place it in a spot where you can use it as an outdoor decorated tree during the holidays.  To top it off, living treeds often do not cost much more than cut Christmas trees.

In our own entry landscaping, we have a grouping of three alpine firs that are now about eight feet tall, and they are very attractive year-round.  During the holidays we can decorate them with outdoor ornaments and lights, so we don’t even need an indoor Christmas tree anymore.  Our indoor cut greens and flowering holiday plants enhance the beauty of the three decorated trees just outside the large entry windows.

Take a little time and give some thought to what kind of a tree would really look nice in your garden: have you wanted a blue spruce, a pine, an alpine fir, or a white fir?  Or maybe you prefer a Norway spruce, Noble fir, or Fraser fir?  If you are looking for a really dwarf tree, maybe the Alberta spruce would be the perfect tree for you?  This is the perfect excuse to pay a little extra and get that special tree that’s just for you. And your decision is just in time, as nurseries and garden centers usually have their best selection of evergreen trees during the holiday season.

Some evergreen trees are grown in containers, while others are simply balled and wrapped in burlap.  In either instance, it is important to be certain the root-balls or containers are wrapped in waterproof material so excess water does not spill out onto your carpet or tile flooring.  We have also found it a good idea to put something like marbles between the carpeting and the container so the weight of the container does not leave a mark or stain in the carpet.

The most important thing to remember is that the living tree should only be kept in the home for around seven days (ten at the very most).  Check watering needs daily, and remember, it is a living plant so they generally take more water than a cut tree.  Keep the living tree away from heating ducts.  A cooler corner of the room is an ideal location in the home.

After the 7-10 days inside, the living tree should be planted directly outdoors unless temperatures are below freezing.  If it is too cold, keep the tree in a semi-cool place like the garage or basement.  Once it begins raining or temperatures moderate, plant the tree in the garden right away.  Let me stress one thing: the living tree should be planted outdoors as soon as possible.  Do not keep the living tree in the basement or garage for over 7-10 days.

Just think: you can enjoy the beauty of a living tree indoors as a Christmas tree, then plant it outdoors after Christmas and enjoy it as a landscape tree for years to come.  What a wonderful idea!

-Ed

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Podcast Mondays: Living Christmas Trees Clip of the Week: Living Christmas Trees

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