Transplanting Christmas Trees - almost PERFECT Landscaping
Once the holidays are here and gone, go for a walk through any neighborhood and you’ll see Christmas tree after Christmas tree, with strands of tinsel blowing in the wind, dumped by the road awaiting garbage collection. This strikes me as somewhat befuddling when we can take a custom that symbolized life and the promise of rebirth in the spring and turn it into another aspect of our “throw-away society”.
There is another avenue to take during the holiday season. Purchase a live tree. A tree with roots intact, wrapped in a burlap covered root ball. Not only do they look better; as cut trees tend to dry out and drop needles, but after the holidays you can replant them within the landscape, providing food and shelter to wildlife. Therein you create a permanent and living memory of one of the year’s most joyous occasion, while adding to property value also, providing shade in the summer sun, and perhaps a windbreak also.
To be successful though, there is a certain process to follow, and this process starts with your initial visit to the nursery to get your tree. Most horticulturists agree that fir, spruce, and pine are all good candidates for post-holiday planting. Actually, almost any variety of tree except hemlocks—as long as its roots are wrapped in burlap—will adapt well to transplantation.
Now that you have your tree home, before you take it in, measure the size of the root ball and dig a hole that is approximately 1 ½ times larger than the ball. We always recommend digging the hole before the holidays so the transition to planting goes quicker and easier. Store the dirt from the hole in some sort of container in the garage or under the back porch until you plant the tree.
Another thing that strikes me as ridiculous is that recommendations for growing and planting your trees are almost all entirely based upon a chemical approach utilizing chemical fertilizers, herbicides, etc. Why would you grow a plant that symbolizes life by applying poisons to it is one quandary that I for one can’t figure out.
When you carry the tree indoors, stand it in a large washtub (or similar container) and pack sawdust, peat moss, or even shredded newspapers around the trunk to help hold it upright. An old cloth draped over the earth ball will help the roots retain moisture. (To hide the tub and its contents, simply drape a decorative tree skirt over and around it.)
Most gardening authorities advise that you keep your living evergreen in the house for only a week to ten days, and certainly no more than two weeks. Try to place it near a window and away from the warm, dry air escaping from heat vents, fireplaces, and woodstoves. Most of the plant’s roots will be close to the top of the earth ball, so be sure to keep that area moist at all times. An average-sized tree will require about one quart of water a day while it’s indoors. You can trim a live evergreen with any sort of decorations you’d like, but you might want to use electric lights sparingly, since the heat generated by even tiny bulbs will tend to dry out a conifer’s needles.
Finally, when you want to move the greenery out of the living room after Christmas, it’s a good idea to give it another transitional stay in the garage before transplanting. Once the evergreen is ready to brave the outdoors again, be sure your chosen planting site is far enough from buildings and other trees to allow for future growth.
Do not fertilize live Christmas trees at the time of planting. Your tree will be dormant and cannot utilize fertilizer until it wakes up in the spring. Fertilize it with an organic fertilizer in the spring. If you have compost available, go ahead and mix some in with the soil while planting the tree, but any fertilizer added at this time will only wash away over winter.
If your Christmas tree is carefully planted and cared for, you can expect it to begin an annual tradition that will continue to beautify your land in the years to come and serve as a happy reminder of past holiday celebrations.
And with that:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE STAFF AT almost PERFECT Landscaping
almost PERFECT Landscaping of Bergen County
(201) – 389 – 6979