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How to Care for and Plant a Living Christmas Tree

Caring for a white pine Christmas Tree
White Pine

There is nothing like the smell of a fresh pine tree to set the tone for your holiday. To help you care for your tree during the holiday season, and plant it on your property successfully when the holidays are over, our experts proudly present the following information.

When you go to pick out your tree, ask the Nursery Manager at your local Southern States dealer which species is right for the area in which you intend to plant your tree. Consider the full grown size of the tree in relation to the amount of space at the location you have for it.

Once you get it home, store your tree on a porch or in the garage. The area should be unheated yet sheltered from wind and sun. Never allow a living Christmas tree to be exposed to freezing temperatures.

Your live tree will come to you either with its roots wrapped in burlap or in a biodegradable container or pot. Provide adequate water for your new tree by keeping the root ball or soil slightly damp. Do not flood the tree with water. Before bringing the tree into the house, wrap the root ball in plastic sheeting or place it in a plastic tub.

Caring for a Norway Spruce Christmas Tree
Norway Spruce

Decorate your living tree carefully. If you use lights, make sure that they do not give off any heat.

After the holidays, return your tree to its sheltered place for a few days to let it acclimate to the cold once more before planting it. Never take a live tree into freezing temperatures directly from the warm house. Doing so will shock the tree and may cause severe damage to it.

Replant the tree in unfrozen ground. Prior to frosts, the spot to be dug may be covered in a layer of mulch to prevent its freezing. Plant your tree as soon as possible after its acclimation to the cold.

To keep the root ball secure, do not remove the burlap or string strapping. If the strapping is plastic or metal, remove it and leave just the burlap. If the root ball came with a plastic sheeting cover, cut the binding cords and roll the plastic at least halfway down before you plant.

Caring for a Serbian Spruce Christmas Tree
Serbian Spruce

If your tree is in a plastic container, tap the bottom of the pot and gently loosen and remove the tree. If the container is biodegradable, leave the tree in it. Do not remove any soil from around the root system as this may cause damage to the roots.

Place your tree in the prepared ground location. Use the soil removed from the hole to backfill in around the root ball. Add a thick layer of mulch over the top of the filled hole to prevent the root ball from freezing. Water your tree only enough to keep it moist as needed. Stake your tree during its first growing season to prevent damage and wind tipping.

Not all Southern States dealers carry live Christmas trees. See your local Southern States dealer for prices and availability.

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