Why not plant your Christmas trees in your yard instead of chopping them down and tossing them in the tree lawn after the holidays?
Growing up, my mom, my brothers and I would always have a live Christmas tree. It was, to me, the beginning of the season when right after Thanksgiving we would all go out and pick out our yearly tree. Until, one Thanksgiving Eve, my Mom, Pat, brought home a live - I mean a real live – Christmas tree, root ball to boot. We were in shock until she explained to us that we would plant the tree in our front yard after the holidays. Well, my mom, who I must say was green before green was well.. green, couldn’t have given us a better Christmas present.
We planted that tree and after many years it grew big and strong and unfortunately way too wide. It was starting to come to close to the house, so my brother Rob called the city manager of my home town, Findlay Ohio. And guess what? Our tree became the city Christmas tree for all to enjoy for that holiday season.
It was a thrill for all of us to see our tree standing gracefully in the square near our courthouse, decorated to beat the band!!! It was a great tree and gave us many years of enjoyment and the photos we have of it are still passed around on Christmas day.
If you would like to have your own real Christmas tree follow the below steps.
- Choose a suitable planting site for the tree in the fall. The site should provide adequate space for the tree to grow and develop.
- Prepare the planting site in the fall before the ground freezes. Remove the soil and place in a warm location. Fill the hole with straw.
- Select a healthy tree from a local nursery or garden center. When purchasing a balled and burlapped tree, choose a tree with a solid soil ball. A small tree is less expensive and easier to handle. This will make it a lot easier to get it into the house and through doorways. A smaller tree also has a better chance of survival.
- Store the tree in a cool garage, shed or porch if it is purchased two or three weeks before Christmas. Make sure the soil ball is kept moist, but does not freeze. If the temperature in the storage area may drop below freezing, place straw or insulating materials around the soil ball to prevent it from freezing.
- Before bringing a balled and burlapped tree indoors, wrap the soil ball in plastic or place it in a galvanized or plastic tub. Place the tree in a cool location within the home. Avoid sites near heat sources, such as a fireplace, registers, etc.
- The tree should be kept indoors for only a short period. The shorter the tree’s stay indoors, the better its chances of survival when planted outdoors. The maximum stay indoors should be 7 to 10 days. If the tree is kept indoors for a longer period, the tree’s buds may break dormancy. When planted outdoors, the new growth will be killed by cold temperatures.
- Carefully decorate the tree. Ornaments, tinsel and lights can be used. Don’t apply flocking or artificial snow to the tree. Don’t overweight the branches, causing them to break or be injured.
- Keep the soil ball moist throughout the tree’s stay indoors. Check the soil daily and water as needed.
- Shortly after Christmas, remove the tree from the house and place it in a cool location. Don’t place the tree directly outdoors, the drastic change of temperature could damage the tree. A short stay in a cool garage or outdoor shed, allows the tee to become gradually acclimated to cooler temperatures. The soil ball should not be allowed to freeze during this period.
- On a relatively mild winter day, remove the straw from the planting area and plant the tree outdoors. Water well and mulch the area heavily to prevent the soil from freezing immediately.
- Continue watering during the winter and following spring.
Have fun with this “green” holiday project. Let your children take turns picking out the yearly tree and watch the tree grow as your child does.
Happy Holiday Planting.