How to Buy and Care for a Living Christmas Tree

Buy a living Christmas tree 1, 2, 3

How to Buy and Care for a Living Christmas Tree

How about a living Christmas tree that you can plant in your yard after the holidays! Just follow this guide to success.

1) Prep for Planting

  • Before you buy, scope out the perfect place for your new tree. Consider your tree’s mature size, and make sure the planting area is far enough away from the house, street, or other plantings. Most conifers prefer full sun; check your tree’s requirement.
  • Frozen ground may make digging impossible; prepare a sheltered spot out of direct wind to store the tree outdoors until it can be planted in spring. Have a bag filled with leaves at the ready to insulate your tree if it’s balled and burlapped.
  • Workable soil? Dig a hole and mark the spot by filling with leaves. Store soil you’ve removed–you’ll need it to fill the hole after planting. Tips here.

2) Pick Your Tree

  • Shop early. Get the best selection by heading to the nursery around Thanksgiving, ahead of the December rush. Most nurseries will tag your specimen and hold it for you until it’s time to bring it home.
  • Be in the zone. Make sure the tree loves the climate in which you live. Your local nursery will give the best advice, since growing conditions vary even within regions.
  • Just a few decisions. Trees are sold container-grown (weigh less and don’t require potting for indoor use) or balled-and-burlapped (B&B–heavy but adapt easily once planted outdoors). Price will be determined by the species, size, and shearing done by the grower; expect to pay more for a greeting-card-perfect tree.

3) Find the Perfect Place

  • Place the tree away from direct heat sources, including vents, fireplaces, and stoves.
  • Choose a cool room with lots of natural light so the tree doesn’t break dormancy.
  • Water daily with about 30 ice cubes placed onto the top of the root ball.
  • Strings of lights emit heat that can dry out the tree; use for short periods of time.

 

Our Favorite Living Christmas Trees

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Dwarf Blue Rocky Mountain Fir
Abies lasiocarpa 'Glauca Compacta'
Item #1934
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Picea glauca 'Conica'
Item #6462
Norway Spruce
Picea abies
Item #6452
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Candicans White Fir
Abies concolor 'Candicans'
Item #5131
Fat Albert Colorado Blue Spruce
Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'
Item #6478
Colorado Blue Spruce
Picea pungens 'Glauca'
Item #6466
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Horstmann's Silberlocke Korean Fir
Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke'
Item #2156
Deodar Cedar
Cedrus deodara
Item #2335
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Karl Fuchs Himalayan Cedar
Cedrus deodara 'Karl Fuchs'
Item #5522
Black Hills Spruce
Picea glauca 'Densata'
Item #6465
Bruns Serbian Spruce
Picea omorika 'Bruns'
Item #6487
Columnar Norway Spruce
Picea abies 'Cupressina'
Item #6454