9 Steps for Displaying a Living Christmas Tree

Ways to Preserve a Living Holiday Tree for Replanting

Christmas Tree in Bucket. Dave King/ Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

The Joy of a Living Christmas Tree Display

Displaying a potted living Christmas tree can perk up the season and will provide a tree for your yard or landscape. There are quite a number of people who really hate to buy a tree then turn around and just throw it away. You may be one of them.

But on a more personal note, some Christmas celebrations are important enough to commemorate by planting the tree that was an intimate part of that special Christmas day.

I've planted two and for people like me, these trees become special, very important and worth the extra labor of love. A containerized  Colorado blue spruce is especially good for this if you live in an area where it thrives. Local nurseries will have potential conifers that can be purchased several months in advance.

Now let's look at how you can enjoy a living tree for years to come! My system is not hard to carry out but you need to be careful in following these recommendations exactly to improve tree survival.  You need to expect several days of your attention before and after bringing the tree inside.

Preparing a Living Christmas Tree to Replant

  1. Gradually introduce your living tree from outside to inside over time. Take three or four days using the garage or enclosed porch for acclimatization. A tree that is dormant and exposed to immediate warmth will start to grow. You want to avoid any quick resumption of growth.
  1. While the tree is introduced into the house using your porch or garage, check for insects and insect egg masses as the tree acclimates to an inside environment. Remember that you will need to reverse the acclimation process exactly to plant the tree after the Christmas celebration.
  2. Visit your nearest lawn and garden supply store and purchase a spray like WiltPruf (buy from Amazon) with an antidesiccant or anti-wilt chemical to minimize needle loss (do this during introduction phases 1 and 2). This particular product will not only reduce needle loss, it will contain the loss of valuable moisture in a climate controlled home.
  1. When finally taking the tree inside, locate your tree in the coolest part of the room and away from heating ducts. This tree positioning will work with the anti-wilt product to keep the tree moist and prevent the loss of valuable moisture that is needed to survive.
  2. Place the containerized tree in a large galvanized tub (or comparable container} keeping the root ball intact.This tub stabilizes the tree and ball (or container) 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.
  3. Stabilize the tree in the tub in a straight and vertical position using rocks or bricks. Water only in the container in the tree tub if not a balled-in-burlap tree. Directly water a balled in burlap (B-n-B) tree that fits snugly in the tub container or set the B-n-B in a smaller container within the tub.
  4. Again, 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.
  5. 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.
  1. 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.

Two Final Reminders

  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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Your Citation
Nix, Steve. "9 Steps for Displaying a Living Christmas Tree." ThoughtCo, Oct. 13, 2016, thoughtco.com/steps-for-displaying-living-christmas-tree-1342757. Nix, Steve. (2016, October 13). 9 Steps for Displaying a Living Christmas Tree. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/steps-for-displaying-living-christmas-tree-1342757 Nix, Steve. "9 Steps for Displaying a Living Christmas Tree." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/steps-for-displaying-living-christmas-tree-1342757 (accessed February 22, 2018).