Caring for your “live” Christmas tree

Choosing to have a ‘live’ Christmas tree serves a dual purpose.  Not only is it your tree indoors during the Holidays, it eventually becomes a part of your landscape for many more years to come!  Here’s how to help make your decision to chose a ‘live’ Christmas tree successful, by following our “2, 7 to10, 2, Plant it” routine!

NOTE:  “Live” (balled & burlapped / container grown trees aren’t quite as easy as dealing with real ‘cut’ trees, thanks to the weight of the root ball, and moving it in and out of the house.  So, be prepared, by having the proper equipment and labor in making the needed moves.  You’ll also need a waterproof tub large enough to handle the root ball of the tree (or saucer large enough to fit under the bottom of a ‘potted’ live tree), mulch to place around the root ball, and WiltStop to spray the tree.]

Following the “2, 7 to 10, 2, then Plant It! Routine”:  (2 days in an unheated garage, 7 to 10 days maximum in the house, 2 days in an unheated garage, and plant it!)

Once the live tree arrives at home:  [2 DAYS]  -Begin the “routine” by moving the balled & burlapped tree into the unheated garage for 2 days.  This allows the tree to adjust to the warmer temperatures once indoors.  Spray the tree with WiltStop to help minimize moisture loss and needle drop.  (If the tree is not ready to begin the “routine”, place it in a protected spot next to the house, semi-shady, and keep the root ball moistened until you’re ready to begin.)

Moving the live tree Indoors: [7-10 DAYS]  -After the 2 day acclimation period in the unheated garage, it’s time to move the tree indoors. -Be sure to locate your tree in the coolest part of the room, away from sources of heat, or constant air flow.  In front of sunny picture windows is not the best location!   -Once inside the home, place the tree in a large galvanized or plastic tub.  Fill around and on top of the root ball with mulch.  Water the root ball and mulch to moisten thoroughly.  For potted trees, place a heavy duty saucer or water tight container under the pot to collect water that may flow out of the pot.  Water your tree as often as needed to keep the roots and mulch moist, but not soggy.   -Miniature lights are the best choice for decorating live Christmas trees, as they create less heat.  Check light strands for safety, and turn them off when the tree is unattended.   -Leave the tree indoors for 7 to 10 days maximum, NO MORE.Moving the live tree back outside:  [2 DAYS]  -After being indoors for 10 day maximum, move the tree back into the unheated garage for another 2 days to readjust to the outside temperatures.  Check the weather forecast – you want to plant your tree as soon as possible after the 2 days in the unheated garage.  -DON’T WAIT – PLANT IT!  You have the options of pre-digging the hole earlier in the month (in case the ground is frozen after the holidays), covering the planting area with a thick layer of leaves or mulch to keep the ground from freezing, and then digging your hole after the final 2 days in the unheated garage, or Just wait and dig the hole when the tree is ready to be planted, no matter what the weather is like! (Trust us, rarely is the ground frozen solid after the Holidays in our area.)  Whichever you chose, don’t wait - plant it!   -Plant your live tree following our “Planting and Watering Guide”.  Be sure to water in well after planting, and definitely a few more times throughout the winter and early spring - very important for the success of the tree. 

It only makes sense…Your environmentally friendly and traditional choice is to use a natural and recyclable (or plantable) real tree this holiday season!          

                           Natorp 08   513-398-4769

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