Living Christmas trees are the safest natural trees and with proper handling and planting can provide enjoyment for years to come. These instructions will help you to enjoy your living tree through the holidays and prepare it for successful planting.
For convenience in planting and protection from drying, the root balls of Rosedale's living trees are covered with burlap. Be sure your tree container provides adequate space for the root ball to fit comfortably. Waterproof tubs of metal, stoneware, or plastic are recommended to prevent water damage to floors. Tubs may be saved and used each year.
- If you receive delivery of your tree several days or weeks before the tree is to be brought inside, maintain soil moisture by watering the root ball when not frozen.
- Preparation for planting:
Option A: While the ground is not yet frozen, you may dig the planting hole for the tree in advance before actual time of planting. The hole should be twice as wide and half again as deep as the root ball. Mix one part Peat or Humus with two parts of soil from hole. Store soil where it will not freeze. Mulch open hold with leaves or cover with plastic.
Option B: Place a heavy mulch of salt hay, leaves or pine bark over planting area, greater than the actual hole size. Do this to postpone soil freezing then dig hole and condition soil at time of tree planting.
- If root ball is frozen, permit gradual thawing at moderate temperatures before placing in the full heat of your home. A semi-heated garage is ideal for this. Also at this time Wilt-Pruf, an anti-transpirant, may be sprayed over the tree foliage to help prevent excessive moisture loss. Allow Wilt-Pruf to dry on the tree at a temperature above 40 degrees; do not spray Wilt-Pruf on Blue Spruce.
- Keep the tree indoors for no more than 7 to 10 days to prevent permanent and fatal drying, bear in mind that your household climate is like the desert. Keep the tree well watered and away from heat sources.
- Miniature lights can be used on the tree. If C9 type lights or any bulbs that are very hot to touch are used, attach lights carefully so they do not come in contact with foliage; this prevents burns to the needles. Do not use sprayed on glue or artificial snow.
- Water the tree daily on top of root ball. Use enough water to keep soil moist but not soggy.
- When tree is removed from inside, it is beneficial to place tree in an unheated garage or breezeway for a week to two week period to adjust the tree to colder outside temperatures before planting.
- When planting, adjust soil depth with soil so that the top of the root ball is flush with surrounding soil. When the root ball is at correct depth, carefully remove plastic burlap and string from root ball by cutting away. If root ball is wrapped in a natural burlap, the burlap can be rolled down from the top and left on the tree. Now backfill with soil, tamp it down around the roots, then water thoroughly. Use leaves, salt hay, or pine bark liberally to mulch the tree. Continue to water tree if ground should thaw in mid-winter and then through spring. Thereafter as necessary.
Once you enjoy the extra beauty of living Christmas trees, you will want to enjoy their double values every year.