December has arrived, and the sights and sounds have transitioned to everything Christmas and the holidays. You can’t escape the twinkling lights, cheery songs, tasty treats, and Christmas trees. Year after year, the hard decision needs to be made between real trees or artificial ones. If you love the smell and feel of a real tree but are concerned about the sustainability factor, there is a perfect option for you. A living Christmas tree gives you the enjoyment of a real tree during the holiday season, with the ability to transition it to an outdoor landscape that can be enjoyed for many years to come.
The most ecological choice when choosing a tree to recycle, is to decide on a living tree with the root ball still attached wrapped in burlap or container grown. Before purchasing the tree, be sure to scope out your landscape to assess for size and space needed for a mature tree. The tree will need direct sunlight and will need to be away from the house, street, and other landscape. Be sure to check with the nursery that the chosen tree will survive and thrive in your zone and climate. Great choices with the best survival rate in Florida would be: Arizona Cypress, Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pine, and Sand Pine.
Unlike a pre-cut tree, a living Christmas tree cannot survive in your home for weeks leading up to the holiday. Unfortunately, decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving is out of the question, as it is recommended for the tree to stay inside for approximately 7-10 days at most. Caring for the tree while indoors is rather simple. The roots need to stay moist, but not soggy. A great way to accomplish this is with ice cubes. In lieu of watering a tree traditionally, place a number of ice cubes, perhaps 20-30 cubes, on the root ball and allow the ice to gradually melt over the day providing just enough water. It is also recommended to choose a room large enough so that the tree can be away from direct heat sources such as fireplaces and heating vents.
When the holiday season is over, and you are ready to plant your tree outdoors, it is best to allow for a transition period for the tree to become accustomed to the outdoor temperature. Be sure to dig a wide, shallow hole large enough to accommodate the root ball. Before planting, fully saturate the soil and root ball. After planting, fill the hole with soil and cover with mulch.
If you are interested in planting a living Christmas tree this year and live in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, or Citrus county, please contact Challenger Irrigation today to help with proper irrigation to keep your tree thriving for many years to come.