Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!
The Christmas Tree – an evergreen tree that is brought inside and decorated with lights, ornaments, and trinkets to become a beacon of the holiday season in our homes. When using a real tree as a Christmas Tree there are two routes to go – Cut Christmas Tree or Live Christmas Tree. Here is an overview of Cut Christmas Trees versus Live Christmas Trees and how to care for each.
A Cut Christmas Tree is a real tree that has been cut at the base of the trunk and is stood up in a stand. Taken care of properly, a Cut Christmas Tree will last through the holiday season but will eventually decline. It cannot be transplanted to the yard.
A Live Christmas Tree is a living tree with roots in a container or in a burlapped ball. Live Christmas Trees are brought inside for a short period of time around Christmas. If cared for properly it can be planted in the yard after a brief stay indoors.
Cut Christmas Tree
With the proper care, a Cut Christmas Tree should last through Christmas Day and possibly into the New Year. One of the longest lasting varieties of tree (and hence one of the most popular) is the Fraser Fir. Follow these steps to ensure your Cut Christmas Tree looks great through the holiday season:
1. Purchase your Cut Christmas Tree from White Oak Gardens.
Our trees arrive fresh from the farm and we take steps to ensure the cut trees stay fresher, longer.
2. Before setting your Cut Christmas Tree on the stand, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk – at least one inch.
This cut opens up the capillaries in the tree so it will drink water and last longer. Our staff will gladly make the fresh cut for you when you purchase one of our trees. Take note that the tree needs to be placed in water as soon as possible after making a fresh cut or the cut will re-seal and the tree won’t be able to drink water. Adding a preservative such as Prolong to the water may help the tree last longer, but warm tap water is fine.
3. If possible, stand your tree in a part of the room away from any heat sources, like HVAC supply/return registers, fireplaces, and direct sunlight.
This will help with needle retention. Not only is this a safe practice (a dry Christmas Tree is a fire hazard) but it will also help the tree last longer.
4. Keep the tree watered and don’t let the bowl completely dry out.
The amount of water your tree will drink differs from tree to tree. I’ve had trees drink lots of water and other trees hardly any water at all. Keep an eye on the water bowl and refill as necessary. Don’t allow the bowl to run low or completely dry! A dry Christmas Tree is a fire hazard.
The Cut Christmas Tree that you bring into your home is grown at a tree farm for the exclusive purpose of decorating your home during the holiday season. In the green industry, it is considered a crop or commodity just like corn or soybeans – kinda weird to think of it in that way right? However, by choosing a Cut Christmas Tree you are supporting a sustainable and environmentally friendly practice.
White Oak Gardens recycles Cut Christmas Trees. If you purchased your Cut Christmas Tree from White Oak Gardens, you can return your tree to us at the end of the season. We process the returned trees into mulch that is used on our grounds and natural pathways.
Live Christmas Tree
How you care for a Live Christmas Tree is especially important if you are planning to plant it in your yard after Christmas. A Live Christmas Tree is a living tree with roots in a container or in a burlapped ball. Live Christmas Trees are brought inside for a short period of time around Christmas and can be planted in the yard afterwards. Follow these steps to make sure your Live Christmas Tree stays healthy when indoors and will afterwards survive the transplant outdoors.
1. Purchase your Live Christmas Tree from White Oak Gardens.
Our trees arrive fresh from the grower and we care for them properly so that you are purchasing a healthy tree.
2. Properly prepare for the transport of a Live Christmas Tree.
A Live Christmas Tree is bulky and heavy. Take measurements of your door frames to make sure you’ll be able to get it in and out of the house. Bring a truck or have it delivered – do not try to put a Live Christmas Tree in a car or lay it on its side. Enlist extra hands to help move the tree. Live Christmas Trees are heavy – some several hundred pounds – and because they are bulky they are not easy to carry.
3. Acclimate your Live Christmas Tree to warmer temperatures before bringing it into your heated home.
If possible, set the tree in an unheated space like a garage or breezeway for a couple of days before bringing it indoors. After a couple of days in the transition space it can be brought indoors. This process in reverse should be followed before taking the tree outside. So as not to shock the tree, re-acclimate it to cooler temperatures by placing it in an unheated space for a couple of days before taking it outside to the colder elements.
4. Limit the amount of time that your Live Christmas Tree is indoors.
Two weeks indoors is a safe-time frame. Many of our customers bring their Live Christmas Tree indoors the week before Christmas and take it outside the week after Christmas. If left indoors too long, the warmer air temperature will trigger the tree to break its winter dormancy and start growing, just as it would in the spring. If the tree breaks dormancy and is then returned to the cold air outside when it is planted it may decline and not survive the transplant.
5. If possible, stand your tree in a part of the room away from any heat sources, like HVAC supply/return registers, fireplaces, and direct sunlight.
This will help to keep the tree from breaking dormancy and lessen the chance of transplant shock. Also, protect the floor from moisture damage by setting the tree in a waterproof tub or on-top of plastic.
6. Water the tree when necessary.
The soil around the roots at the base of the tree should be moist – not completely dry and not soaking wet either. Water the tree well before bringing it indoors and allow the excess water to drain out of the root ball. After bringing the tree indoors, it will likely only need to be watered once or twice over a two-week timeframe.
7. After re-acclimating the tree to the outdoors it is ready to plant in the ground.
Is it okay to plant the tree in late December or early January? You bet! However, if you do not plant it right-away, place it outdoors and insulate the pot with soil, mulch, or leaf debris piled up around the container/root-ball. When planting, follow proper planting techniques or ask our knowledgeable staff how to properly plant the tree.