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How To Care for a Live Christmas Tree


Displaying a live and living Christmas tree perks up the season plus provides a tree for your yard. There are quite a number of people who really hate to buy a tree then turn around and just throw it away.

But on a more personal note, some Christmas celebrations are important enough to commemorate by planting the tree that was an intimate part of a special Christmas. I have two. To some people, they are all special and important.

let's look at how you can enjoy a living tree for years to come!

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 10 Days

Here's How:

  1. Gradually introduce your living tree from outside to inside over three or four days via the garage or enclosed porch. A tree that is dormant and exposed to immediate warmth will start to grow. You want to avoid any quick resumption of growth.
  2. While the tree is introduced into the house using your porch or garage, check for critters and insect egg masses as the tree acclimates to an inside environment. Remember that you will need to reverse the process to plant the tree later.
  3. Visit your nearest lawn and garden supply store. Purchase a spray with an antidessicant or antiwilt product to minimize needle loss (do this during the introduction phase). This particular product will not only reduce needle loss, it will contain the loss of valuable moisture lost to a climate controlled home.
  4. If possible, locate your tree in the coolest part of the room and away from heating ducts. This will work with the anti-wilt product to keep the tree moist and prevent the loss of valuable moisture that is needed to survive.
  5. Place the tree in a large galvanized tub including root ball. This tub stabilizes the tree and ball (or pot) and confines water and needles into a more manageable and cleanable space. It will also contain any mess you might have and limit problems associated with a live tree living inside the home.
  6. Stabilize the tree in the tub in a straight and vertical position using rocks or bricks. Water only in the tree's tub container if not a balled-in-burlap tree. Directly water a B-n-B tree that fits snugly in the tub container. Save the container for next year.
  7. If balled-in-burlap, fill empty space around and on top of the ball with mulch to retain as much moisture as possible. Then water your tree as often as necessary to moisten the roots but not soggy. Never over water beyond moist.
  8. Leave your tree inside no longer than 7-10 days (some experts suggest only 4 days). Never add nutrients or fertilizers as that may initiate growth which you don't want to occur in a dormant tree.
  9. Carefully introduce tree back outside using the reverse procedure and plant as instructed in my How to Plant a Tree feature. If you live in a climate where soils freeze, you should have prepared a planting hole during moderate temperatures.


  1. You can skip the galvanized tub and stabilization steps if the tree comes packed in a plastic bucket. Remember to protect floor and carpet from water by using a pan.
  2. Anti-desiccants and anti-wilt products are sold under the names of Wilt Pruf or Cloud Cover.

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