Thursday, November 29, 2012

Go Green ~ with a living Christmas tree!

A Living Christmas Tree… a very good thing

Decorating at holiday time using a living Christmas tree is both special and “green.”  A living tree is not the same as a cut tree, which was once living but has been severed from its root system.  A living tree still has its root system attached and is growing in soil in a small container.  When the Christmas season has passed, you still have a lovely tree to plant in your yard as a reminder of your Christmas memories.

Since living Christmas trees are typically small specimens (2.5’ to 3’ tall), you won’t need many ornaments to decorate it.  If you prefer tiny lights, one string of 50 – 100 lights should be sufficient.  If you plan to display your tree on an outdoor deck, you can place a few ornaments on it that are visible from inside your home.  If you prefer a “green” d├ęcor instead, simply make bird-attracting ornaments like pinecones tied with string and rolled in peanut butter and birdseed.

Some people select a living Christmas tree in memory of a loved one… the tree can be placed in your yard and, if you wish, you might decorate it with ornaments reminiscent of the favorite color of your loved one.  (In spring, you will remove all ornaments from your tree before placing it in your chosen location.)

Colorado blue spruce and Serbian spruce are examples of trees that work nicely for Christmas decor; later they are “repurposed” as an element of your landscape. Many of our Lammscapes’ customers have successfully planted living Christmas trees during the past decade.   A few hints to ensure success:  
If kept indoors during Christmas season, a maximum of 10 days to two weeks! Keep away from heat vents and fireplaces or heaters.  Then tree must be taken outside to re-acclimate to colder temps; can keep in garage , but please WATER!

If kept outdoors on display, keep it wet, and wrap root zone in layers of burlap fabric.  Wind dessication is the enemy of conifers/evergreens, so storing tree out of the wind is most helpful.    When soil is workable in springtime, just dig hole, plant and fertilize the young tree, and enjoy watching it thrive and grow taller!
M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture