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The best way to Select, Look after, and Plant a Stay Christmas Tree

Have you ever selected a reside Christmas tree this yr? To make sure this sentimental and sustainable Christmas tree lasts, it’s essential to know learn how to look after it correctly. A reside tree will turn into a treasured member of your panorama, holding candy recollections of holidays previous.

Christmas bushes have all the time been a supply of debate in my household. I recall my mom adamantly proclaiming after I was in Excessive College that she would by no means have a pretend tree. Quick ahead about ten years, and Mother was firmly rooted on the substitute tree workforce. 

My dad, alternatively, has all the time lobbied for a reside tree. I don’t imply a lower tree, though I’m a proponent of reside tree farms and the sustainability side of their companies. However no, Dad likes a tree with a nice-sized root ball on the backside. In truth, my first Christmas tree continues to be rising in his yard, forty-something years later. 

Stay bushes additionally carry out all of the duties different crops do within the house, resembling absorbing carbon dioxide and cleansing the air inside your house. After the vacations, they are often planted within the backyard to be loved for many years and for some varieties, centuries to come back. Let’s dig into learn how to care in your reside Christmas tree!

The best way to Select a Stay Tree

Close-up of a woman's hands taking a pot of Norway Spruce (Picea abies) from a counter full of different types of Christmas trees. This young evergreen in a black plastic pot has dense, dark green needles that are short and sharp, creating a lush, feathery texture.
Numerous tree species, like firs, pines, spruces, and junipers, are appropriate as reside Christmas bushes.

There are fairly numerous completely different tree species that work effectively as reside Christmas bushes. The principle varieties common for this function embody a number of kinds of pine, fir, spruce, and juniper bushes. The primary consider selecting a reside tree is whether or not or not it can survive in your local weather zone. 

Among the extra common reside bushes embody:

  • Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) – Zones 7-9
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) – Zones 3-6
  • Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens Engelm.) – Zones 3-7
  • Colorado Inexperienced Spruce (Picea pungens) – Zones 2-7
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) – Zones 4-8
  • Japanese Purple Cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) – Zones 2-9
  • Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri) – Zones 4-7
  • Korean Fir (Abies koreana) – Zones 5-7
  • Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) – Zones 6-10
  • Noble Fir (Abies procera Rehd.) – Zones 5-6
  • Nordman Fir (Abies nordmanniana) – Zones 4-7
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) – Zones 10-11
  • Norway Spruce (Picea abies) – Zones 3-7
  • Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – Zones 3-7
  • Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) – Zones 6-7
  • Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana (Mil.)) – Zones 4-8
  • White Fir (Abies concolor (Gord. and Glend.) Hildebr.) – Zones 3-7
  • White Pine (Pinus strobus L.) – Zones 3-7
  • White Spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) – Zones 2-6

As soon as you understand which bushes will thrive in your local weather, there are just a few different components to contemplate when deciding on a tree. This goes for each lower and reside bushes, because the fascinating traits stay the identical whether or not or not the tree has been lower. 

Needle Retention

Close-up of Pinus heldreichii branches against a blurred background of potted pine trees. Its dark green, elongated, slender needles grow in pairs and have a graceful, delicate appearance.
Essentially the most important consider selecting a reside Christmas tree is its needle retention.

That is probably a very powerful consider selecting a reside Christmas tree. One of many biggest advantages of a reside tree over a lower tree is that the tree continues to be alive whereas it’s inside your house. So long as it’s cared for correctly, it ought to retain its needles pretty effectively. Nevertheless, some bushes are superior in the case of retaining their needles. 

Fir bushes are well-known for having wonderful needle retention. In each lower and reside bushes, a fir tree will maintain onto its needles for a very long time, and the needles are sturdy, making them straightforward to brighten with out inadvertently stripping the branches. 

Scotch pines are one other wonderful alternative when it comes to needle retention. They’ve longer, softer needles than a fir, so they’re an important possibility should you favor a tree with a smooth, fluffy look. If you’re leaning towards spruce, look to white spruce for the most effective needle retention. 


Porch of a house decorated for Christmas. On the porch there are different types of potted Christmas trees and two wooden chairs. One chair is painted bright red. Live christmas trees include fir, pine, and spruce.
The Colorado inexperienced spruce is a wonderful alternative for a standard Christmas evergreen.

The basic Christmas tree is a pyramidal-shaped evergreen and normally a conifer, sometimes with quick, dense, stiff needles. If that is the look you need, you’ll be able to’t go improper with a Colorado inexperienced spruce. It has quick, deep inexperienced needles, and its calmly upturned branches are uniform and dense. 

Norfolk Island pines are a beautiful alternative for a extra trendy, whimsical tree. They’ve extra versatile branches and are usually not nice for hanging heavy ornaments on, however should you like a minimalist look and a tree that may make an important houseplant, this can be a nice possibility. 

Scotch pine is a good alternative should you love lengthy needles for a lush and fluffy look. White pine additionally has smooth, lengthy needles that develop in clusters and a bluish-green coloration. Nordman fir may be very plump and darkish inexperienced with rounded needles, making adorning much less painful. 


Close-up of Fir tree new growing branches. They bear dense clusters of short, flat, and needle-like leaves that are dark green, giving the branches a lush, feathery appearance.
Stay Christmas bushes, particularly fir bushes just like the balsam fir, provide a beautiful and distinctive perfume.

The most effective issues about reside Christmas bushes is the great aroma that they fill the house with. Whereas a lower tree will nonetheless retain a few of its perfume, nothing can rival a reside tree when it comes to the great, resinous fragrance. 

Not all frequent Christmas tree varieties have a pleasant scent, although. Some truly scent reasonably disagreeable however produce other constructive qualities. If perfume will not be your precedence, Spruce bushes are lovely and long-lasting, with sturdy branches that rise up effectively to adorning. 

Should you look ahead all yr to that magical Christmas tree scent in your house, I extremely advocate a fir. Particularly, the balsam fir is taken into account to be probably the most aromatic and most pleasant-smelling for Christmas. Fir bushes have a particular and basic scent generally replicated by common candle firms of their vacation scents. 

Junipers have unconventional foliage, however they scent pleasant, with notes of citrus and cedar and undercurrents of the gin constituted of their berries. Their feathery branches and distinctive foliage make a beautiful tree, however their branches are typically smooth, so should you embellish closely, this isn’t best. 

If you’re delicate to scents or are an allergy sufferer, Leyland cypress is ideal. It produces no sap and has no distinctive or noteworthy aroma. It has mild, feathery branches and makes a ravishing focus within the house and the backyard. 

Department Stiffness

Close-up Christmas tree with red decorations and lights. The Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) is a striking conifer known for its distinctive blue-green to silvery-blue needles. Its branches are sturdy and horizontal, forming a classic pyramidal shape. The needles are sharp, four-sided, and dense. Blue Spruce features bright red decorative Christmas balls and bows.
A sturdy tree with stiff branches is crucial for enthusiastic decorators, because it should stand as much as heavy adorning.

This character trait is vital for me and my fellow heavy decorators. Whereas I really like a glossy, minimalist tree in stunningly coordinated decor, mine is a conglomeration of 5 generations of ornaments. 

From the charming little Scottie canine decoration that graced my great-grandmother’s tree to the magical fingerprint snowmen introduced house by my center baby, my tree has to carry up beneath the load of some very sentimental ornamentation. I additionally like to make use of each white and coloured lights in order that I can change between the 2 or use them on the identical time. 

Not all kinds can face up to this type of stress. The potted Norfolk Island pine that my minimalist, Mid-Century Trendy loving brother hangs a string of lights and some festive knick knacks on would merely collapse on the sight of my decoration assortment. I want a sturdy tree with good, stiff branches. 

Clearly, should you want a tree that may stand as much as heavy adorning, a cypress or juniper will not be the fitting alternative. These pretty species are finest left to our glossy, trendy contemporaries. If, like myself, you’re a true maximalist, a spruce or a fir is the best way to go. These bushes are identified for his or her stiff, sturdy, upward-facing branches.

The best way to Look after a Stay Tree

When you’ve chosen the fitting species in your local weather and private preferences, giving your tree the fitting provisions is vital to maintain it wanting lovely all through the vacation season till planting time. 

How Lengthy Can It Stay Indoors?

A woman decorates a live Christmas tree in a pot in a bright room. The woman has blond hair and is wearing beige pajamas. The tree is decorated with blue, red and gold Christmas balls.
For bushes tailored to chilly climates, limiting their indoor keep to a couple of week is advisable to keep away from disrupting dormancy.

This space has a good quantity of controversy, with some people feeling fairly adamantly {that a} reside tree ought to be saved indoors for the shortest time span attainable. Others could argue that when given the correct care, a reside tree ought to final for much longer indoors so long as it will get the correct care

Right here is the factor about reside bushes. They’re dormant in the course of the yr’s colder months, so these used to chilly climates (supplied your local weather is chilly as effectively) ought to spend not more than per week indoors. Any longer, and so they could break dormancy and have much less probability of survival outside. 

Clearly, this doesn’t apply to all conditions. Norfolk Island pines can reside indoors indefinitely. Should you reside in a hotter local weather and your chosen tree can thrive in that atmosphere, you may get away with conserving it indoors for an extended interval. 

If, nevertheless, you reside in a local weather that experiences a tough freeze within the winter months, you wish to get that tree again outdoors expeditiously. Goal for not more than per week indoors to offer it the most effective probability of survival. 


There are potted Christmas trees in the yard such as Blue Spruce and Juniperus. Blue Spruce is decorated with bright red Christmas balls and garlands. Juniperus are evergreen trees with scale-like leaves of dark green color.
Earlier than bringing your reside tree indoors, hold it outside and think about adorning it on a coated porch or in an outside area for weeks.

Maintain your reside tree outside, however protected, for any size of time that you’ve got it earlier than bringing it indoors. This can be a good alternative to have a adorned tree on a coated porch or in a display screen room. So long as the temperature stays low, you’ll be able to embellish it in an outside dwelling area and luxuriate in it this fashion for weeks. 

Goal for having your tree indoors for not more than per week, and this is absolutely the most. Aside from the hotter climates we beforehand mentioned, the longer it’s indoors, the decrease its chances are high of thriving as soon as you are taking it again outdoors.


Close-up of a potted fir tree indoors. Fir tree in a light gray plastic pot. Fir tree has flat, dark green needles arranged in two distinct rows along the branches. The branches are often strong and horizontally oriented. The connat has a decorative table with a Christmas theme, a wicker laundry basket, and a wooden shelf with various things.
Guarantee a gradual outside transition to indoors to forestall shock and dormancy disruption.

Transitioning your tree from the outside to the indoors is a vital step that shouldn’t be missed. You don’t wish to shock your tree by bringing it from a 25°F evening straight into your 68°F lounge. That may trigger shock and trigger your plant to definitely exit dormancy

You need the transition indoors to really feel like slightly heat spell so the tree doesn’t spring into motion the best way that it ought to within the springtime. Bringing it near the home and giving it a slight warm-up earlier than coming indoors will assist hold your tree dormant and accustomed to the chilly. You don’t need it to supply any new foliage presently as a result of new foliage is tender and might be simply broken when reintroduced to the chilly. 

You probably have a coated porch, you’ll be able to deliver your tree into this area per week earlier than bringing it indoors. A storage, shed, or unheated greenhouse are different applicable transitional locations. You’ll be able to repeat this course of when reintroducing it to the chilly, however it’s much less vital than it’s now. 

Earlier than bringing your tree into the home, spray the needles with an answer of pine oil and water. The spray acts as an anti-transpirant, blocking the pores or stomata, which is the way it breathes. 


Close-up of a man's hand spraying a live Christmas tree with a white spray bottle. Fir tree has horizontal branches in a uniform, tiered arrangement. The foliage consists of flat, needle-like leaves that are arranged spirally along the branches.
Water day by day, making certain the soil stays constantly moist.

As a result of the tree is dormant, it received’t require as a lot water as it will throughout a development interval, however most typical bushes which are saved as Christmas bushes like to remain moist. 

Anticipate to water every day. The soil ought to all the time keep moist, and a decent-sized giant tree can absorb a whole lot of water in a 24-hour interval. It’s finest to maintain it in a container with no drainage to keep away from flooring harm. If water drains into the container and stays for half-hour or extra, reduce on watering. 

Don’t fertilize. Fertilizers could trigger the tree to interrupt dormancy and induce new development, which is extra susceptible to frost. You wish to keep away from waking it from dormancy as a lot as attainable. 


Close-up of a lively decorated Christmas tree and gift boxes in a bright room against the backdrop of two armchairs and a wooden coffee table. Christmas tree is in decorative. white pot. it is decorated with silver Christmas balls.
To keep up a reside tree’s dormancy throughout its indoor keep, purpose for a house temperature of 65°F or cooler.

The best temperature state of affairs for a reside tree is to remain as cool as attainable. You need it to remain dormant all through this course of, and bringing it indoors is hard. Should you can tolerate it, purpose to hold your house at 65°F or cooler whereas the tree is indoors. 

There are some workarounds to this problem when it comes to placement. Contemplate inserting it within the coolest a part of the house and in an space near a big window. Holding your tree as cool as attainable will hold it fortunately dormant. 

LED Lights

Close-up of marvelous Christmas tree branches decorated with LED Lights. Christmas tree branches are characterized by their evergreen nature, adorned with dense clusters of needle-like leaves.
LED Christmas lights, in contrast to incandescent ones, don’t emit warmth that might prematurely set off a reside tree’s development section.

The appearance of LED Christmas lights has in all probability saved greater than a handful of reside bushes from sure deaths lately. Warmth may cause them to re-enter a development section and go to bud. You will need to keep away from something that may warmth up your tree.

Typical, incandescent Christmas lights get fairly heat and create that state of affairs the place your tree thinks that spring has sprung and goes into motion, solely to be shocked by the re-entry into the chilly outside. LED lights don’t warmth up, so they’re the popular lighting methodology. 

Planting Your Tree

Planting your reside tree takes some superior preparation. That is very true of planting zones the place the bottom freezes early within the yr. You wish to give it the most effective probability of survival, which implies planting within the floor as early as attainable. This fashion, it can stay dormant naturally till the climate warms and the tree re-enters a development cycle. 

Prep the Floor for Planting

Close-up of a gardener digging a hole to plant a young Christmas tree in a sunny garden. He is wearing light gray trousers, a white T-shirt and a plaid shirt. He has a beautiful modern watch on his wrist. A gardener digs a hole with a black shovel with a wooden handle. The Christmas tree has bluish-green needles densely located on the branches.
Create a gap twice as vast and deep as the foundation ball earlier than the bottom freezes, storing the soil the place it received’t freeze.

It is vitally troublesome to dig a tree-sized gap when the bottom is frozen, so these in chilly climates should determine the planting location effectively forward of time and get the area able to put the tree within the floor after the vacation.

Earlier than the bottom freezes, dig a gap that’s as deep and twice as vast as the foundation ball of your tree. This creates unfastened soil across the roots, which makes it simpler for the plant to unfold its roots and get established rapidly. For fast digging, think about a drill-powered auger.

Retailer the soil from the opening in a spot the place it received’t freeze so you’ve got a neater time utilizing it to backfill later. The choice to that is to backfill the opening with commercially bought backyard soil. In case your soil composition is poor, this isn’t a foul concept. Most species generally saved as Christmas bushes favor wealthy, acidic soil.  

After digging the opening and storing the soil, fill the opening with straw or a bag of useless leaves. This helps retain the scale and form of the opening till you’ll be able to plant. You may as well cowl the opening with plywood as a security precaution. 

Prep for Planting

Close-up of a girl gardener holding a potted Christmas tree and a dark green watering can, in the garden. She is wearing a straw hat, a green T-shirt and a red plaid shirt. The tree has dark green needles and is planted in a black plastic pot.
Earlier than planting, progressively transition the tree again outside by inserting it in a coated space.

Transition the tree again into the chilly as you transitioned it indoors. Transfer it right into a storage, shed, or different coated outside area about two to 3 days earlier than planting.

This helps to stop shock and mimics a pure warming and cooling of the climate. Water the foundation ball totally on the day of planting, permitting it to soak up all it wants. 


Close-up of a man planting a young Christmas tree in the garden. He is wearing light gray trousers, a gray long sleeve shirt and black rubber boots. There is a green watering can on the grass. He covers the base of the tree with soil using a shovel.
Backfill with preserved soil, tamp it all the way down to get rid of air pockets however keep away from extreme compaction, and water totally.

Take away the burlap or container from the foundation ball on the planting day and place the foundation ball within the pre-prepared gap. The highest of the foundation ball ought to sit simply above the encompassing soil. The soil will naturally settle, and also you need that root ball to finish up on the stage of the soil and never under it. 

After making any changes, place your tree within the gap, it from all sides to guarantee that it’s planted straight and probably the most engaging facet is going through within the route you’ll have a look at most frequently. 

Backfill the opening together with your preserved soil, tamping it down together with your shovel or foot in order that it’s agency however not compacted. You need the soil to be freed from air pockets however not so dense that it inhibits development within the spring. 

After backfilling, water the bottom totally. Be certain that to actually soak the bottom across the tree, as effectively. Apply a thick layer of mulch across the trunk, leaving an open space simply across the base. The mulch will assist regulate the soil’s temperature and stop fluctuations. 

Care After Planting

Close-up of a gardener's hands watering a newly planted Christmas tree in the garden with a dark green watering can. The gardener is wearing light gray trousers and a plaid shirt. Next to the tree there is an empty black pot and a shovel.
Preserve common watering, particularly throughout thawing heat spells, as evergreens thrive in moist soil.

Maintain your tree watered like another perennial planted within the spring. That is particularly vital throughout heat spells when the bottom begins to thaw. Evergreens like a whole lot of moisture and generally develop in areas the place the bottom stays moist year-round. 

Throughout its first yr, proceed to water frequently. Water deeply while you do to encourage deep root development. When the bottom thaws and the climate warms within the spring, fertilize your tree utilizing a whole fertilizer with an evaluation of 10-8-15. 

In case your soil is acidic sufficient and accommodates ample vitamins, your tree shouldn’t require additional fertilization. It’s straightforward to over-fertilize an evergreen. Keep away from the urge to fertilize in the summertime. Do not forget that tender new development will not be as effectively protected in opposition to freezing climate, even for evergreens.

Closing Ideas

Stay Christmas bushes are lovely and extra closely aromatic than lower ones. They’re simpler to move, and there’s no frustration or balancing act of positioning them with a stand. Along with making a surprising assertion for the vacation, a reside tree will deliver a lifetime of nostalgia and wonder to your yard



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