This may be the first year that you have purchased a real Christmas tree, it may also be that you only buy real Christmas trees and want to know how to look after them a bit better. Whatever your reasons, this step by step checklist will make sure you keep your real Christmas tree healthy and happy.
Is it in a Pot? Or is it Freestanding?
This should always be your first consideration. Pot-grown Christmas trees are purpose made to be cared for and looked after and can even serve your family over numerous Christmases if you take good care of it. Free-standing trees don’t fare so well, and it is going to be more a matter of maintaining it as best as possible until you dispose of it.
How to Care for a Freestanding Christmas Tree
There is very little you can do to make sure that a free-standing tree lives longer. This is because unlike pot-grown varieties the root network has been removed and you are left with just the base of the trunk. Because of this, it is very difficult to give the tree nutrition and water.
Without the root network, your freestanding tree will eventually die and need to be disposed of, there are however three things that you can do to prolong its life a little bit further.
Keep it Exposed to Sunlight
Trees and plants all rely on sunlight to sustain themselves and although your tree doesn’t have its roots, it can still process sunlight through its pine needles. A tree that has a bit of sunlight will last that extra bit longer and even better, Evergreen trees like the ones used for Christmas trees don’t need too much light to survive. This means that even if the tree only gets an hour or so sunlight each day, it will still have a beneficial impact.
Avoid Placing it Near Radiators
Heat speeds up the dying process of the tree and avoiding areas that are particularly warm like radiators will help keep the tree alive longer. This is mainly because heat sources dry out the tree and stop it from being able to survive. Because it will have no access to water, a tree needs to use all the water stored in its trunk, branches and pine needles. If this has all been dried out, it will cause the tree to die faster.
Use a Humidifier if You Can
Trees and their pine needles can absorb moisture from the air and if you have a humidifier to hand that won’t cause issues (like mould and damp) then it is a good idea to run it a little each day in order for the tree to pick up some much needed moisture.
By following the above three tips, you may be able to keep your tree alive for two weeks longer which means it will look wonderful and green throughout the Christmas period itself!
Looking after Pot Grown Christmas Trees
Pot grown Christmas trees will all benefit from the three tips and it is always advisable where possible to stick to the three rules above. Beyond that, because the pot grown trees have their roots intact, you can go a lot further with looking after them and can even keep them alive for many years to come.
Here are the top five things that you can do to help your pot grown Christmas tree live a long and happy life;
Water and Feed It
We will cover off the basics first, but it doesn’t go without saying as many people forget to water or feed their Christmas trees, especially with all the Christmas festivities going on. Make sure that the tree is watered regularly enough that soil in the pot is slightly damp to touch. Plant food that has nutrients in will also help the tree to grow big and strong.
Don’t Overwater the Tree
The opposite of not watering is overwatering. Evergreen trees are used to growing and living in quite harsh conditions. If you’re waterlogging your pot every time you water the tree it is a good indication that you’re overwatering. Because the tree is indoors and has warmth from the indoor heat, too much water can cause the tree to begin to rot.
Monitor the Tree’s Growth
Much like measuring a child and tracking their growth, every couple of months or so, whip out the tape measure and see how much the tree has grown. The reason for this is important in the last two steps.
Re-Pot Your Christmas Tree
You will notice that your pot grown tree does grow quite quickly and after the first twelve months it may have even grown over a foot taller. This is great news and signals that you have been caring for your tree well. The downside is that its roots will have grown meaning that they have likely encroached on all the space available in the pot they have been supplied in. It is time to buy a bigger pot and re-plant your Christmas tree.
Plant Your Christmas Tree
Christmas trees don’t have to be just for Christmas, and you can keep your Christmas tree for as many years as you look after it and keep it alive. There will always come a point after years of care where your tree has outgrown the house and needs to be kept outside. This is often a make or break time for a tree as it has been used to conditions inside and sometimes, planting it outside will cause it to die. That is on the rare occasion though and most evergreens flourish once planted outside.
If you have a young family, it is a great way of giving the children some responsibility and allowing them to enjoy looking after the tree and watching it grow. It is also a fun way for them to learn about plants and how things grow. After all, if they manage to keep a tree alive for years, that kitten or puppy might just be the next step up they deserve for next Christmas!