If you’re planning on buying a live tree and expect to plant it outdoors after Christmas, choose the right tree. Arizona cypress, deodar cedar, red cedar, and Leyland cypress are just a few of several double-duty “Christmas” trees that can be enjoyed in our homes over the holidays before being planted outside in the landscape.
When you shop for your tree, choose one with a firm root ball. Store the tree in a protected location before bringing it inside.
Once you bring the tree indoors, keep it inside for as short a time as possible: no more than 10 days but 5 to 7 days would be better. Keep the tree away from heating vents, fireplaces, and other heat sources.
Place the rootball in a large tub and water from the top. Check the rootball daily and water often enough to keep the soil moist.
After the holiday, plant your tree immediately. The root ball will be very heavy so enlist the help of any holiday guests to help you carry it outside.
Plant it in a sunny well-drained location with plenty of room to spread out.
Dig the hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball and as deep. Place the tree in the hole, stand it straight and fill in with soil. Water thoroughly and mulch with 2 to 4 inches of compost, shredded bark, or pine straw. Keep it well-watered during the winter months to help your tree become established. This spring, stand back and watch your investment grow.
For further information, see “Living Christmas Trees“, HGIC 1751.