Do you want to keep your Christmas tree forever? You can, with a little preparation. All you need is a live evergreen tree in a pot, which you’ll plant it in the ground after the holidays. A friend of mine has two large spruce trees on her property that started out as Christmas trees in her living room.
Here are the steps to keeping your live Christmas tree after the holidays.
1. Buy a small tree grown in a container. Fiesta has spruce trees in pots that are about four feet high. Remember that a spruce will eventually become a big tree so you will need a lot of space. Check the tag for height and spread. This isn’t a tree to plant in front of the window.
2. Pre-dig a hole in the place where you want to grow your tree, before the ground freezes. We are lucky this year that the temperature in November was warm, so the soil is still diggable. The hole you dig should be as deep as the bottom of the pot to the soil line. Keep the soil that you remove from the ground, or, buy a bag of soil to fill in around the planter when you plant your tree after Christmas. Keep the soil in a warm place so that it doesn’t freeze. Cover the planting hole with something to insulate it, a bag of leaves or a sheet of styrofoam will do.
3. Once you’ve got your tree, water it well and provide a transition period, by keeping it in a cool, sheltered place for a couple of days, such as a garage or unheated porch. This helps the transition from outdoors to being in a heated house. You can also spray it with an anti-dessicant, such as Wilt-Pruf, which is an organic pine oil mixture to help it get through the warm period indoors.
4. Once your tree has been acclimatized you can bring it inside to dress it in its holiday glitter. Make sure you have a large bucket or bin to set the tree and its pot into, to hold the water runoff. You can brace the pot with bricks to help keep it upright.
5. Keep it inside for 7 to 10 days, making sure the root ball doesn’t dry out completely. Keep it away from heating vents, if possible. The shorter the time period indoors, the more chance it will have to survive the transplanting process.
6. When you are ready to dismantle your tree, bring it outside. Take the tree out of the pot, and gently pull the outside roots away from the root ball. First, water the planting hole, then place your tree into it. Fill in around the tree ball with your saved soil. Firm the soil around the root ball. Water it well.
7. Once the ground freezes, mulch around the tree to keep it frozen. If there are any dry spells, water the tree. Keep your tree well watered throughout the growing season. The first year is important in the life of any tree.