Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Live Christmas Trees


Hello fellow readers,

Most of you have decked the halls, but I am late this year and wrestle whether to dig out the artificial standby or go for a much preferred real tree. I bought my standby many years ago to use the times I visited the folks in Florida over Christmas. Some travel years, I decorated a real tree then felt sad for the poor thing left alone on the day it was grown for; hence Mr. Artificial.

Potted-Christmas-TreeIf you are going for a real Christmas tree, please support our local farmers. Though grown for the purpose, I’d still prefer someone else harvests the tree rather than cut my own as it reminds me of picking a live lobster for dinner.   Another option is a live Christmas tree. 3-gallon potted trees are great for the tabletop and only weigh 15 pounds. But for those more ambitious, you can go for a 5 to 6 or even 7 foot balled & burlap tree (B&B) if you can move 170 to 250 pounds. Yup, root balls are heavy!  As a child, our B&Bs were transported by wheelbarrow, which also served as the tree stand while in the house.

Before and after you put your live tree is inside, it’s best to store it a few days in an unheated garage or shed to help it adjust.  Place in a watertight tub away from the heat and add ice on top of the root ball to keep roots damp and chilly. You can spray natural pine oil such as Wilt-Pruf to reduce moisture loss and prevent needle drop from your live or cut Christmas tree.

One of the downsides of a live tree is it should be inside only 7 to 10 days. But the joy of watching your tree grow outweighs the short time inside and the muscle it takes to get it there. Ideally, plant your tree on a warmer winter day in a hole you pre-dug before the ground froze. Otherwise, place your tree outside in a protected area and mulch heavily around the root ball and plant come spring.

Decision made. This year I’ll have a live Christmas tree in honor of my brave, beloved brother who I am visiting in Florida as we speak; the last Christmas in a life cut short, but his gracious spirit will live forever.  Merry Christmas to all!

Beloved Brother Bill

Beloved Brother Bill

Garden Dilemmas?

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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