Keep the Holidays Alive Year-Round: Celebrate the Season with a Live Conifer

Rather than buying or cutting a live conifer this season, you could choose a live evergreen that can be planted in the landscape after the holiday festivity concludes. Instead of reducing tree canopy, you could increase it!

Before you choose a live tree, there are several things to think about.

Consider where you will plan the tree

  • First, consider where your new tree will be planted, keeping in mind that it will mature at 60’ or more in height with a spread of more than 20’.
  • The planting site should be in full or nearly full sun with well-drained soil.
  • Conifers will not do well in a low spot that collects water runoff.

Consider which species to plant.

Native trees such as Eastern White Pine and Eastern Hemlock are a great choice. Colorado or Blue Spruce are not appropriate for Midwest landscapes that want long lived plants. Norway Spruce will thrive in the Greater Cincinnati region but so will other conifer species. Fir species that grow native to the Caucasus Region perform remarkably well in this area. Species like Nordmann Fir, Bornmueller Fir, and Cilician Fir are prized landscape conifers if they are available. Be sure to select a specimen that will fit the living space using the root ball as part of the overall height. The smaller the tree, the better chance it will adapt and flourish in your landscape.

Your tree will need care as soon as it comes home with you.
The tree should be stabilized in a water-retaining plate to keep it evenly moist while it is indoors. The tree should be kept indoors for the most minimal length of time to keep it from losing its winter acclimation. An adjacent unheated summer room would be an ideal location. Be sure to not overwater the root ball to prevent extraneous weight from adding to the tree when it is time to move it.

Tips for planting your tree

The planting hole can be prepared ahead of time but an eye on the weather will be helpful to avoid precipitation and deep-freezing temperatures that will hinder planting the tree. The planting hole should be prepared when the soil is free from clotting. Adverse planting conditions may stipulate that preparing the planting site will need to be completed at the time of installation.

Ball and Burlap trees
Most Christmas trees intended to be planted as a landscape tree come as Ball and Burlap trees. The exterior wrap of burlap and wire should be removed, and the planting hole depth should be adjusted to meet the root flare of the tree at prevailing soil grade. Carefully remove extraneous soil around the tree’s root flare if it is not visible. Avoid disturbance to the root ball that would compromise its structure.

Container Trees
Container trees may require root pruning if they are stiffly growing around the container in a circular pattern. Prune those roots back to the edge of the root mass where they begin to curl. Tree roots must grow radially outward from the tree.

Go online and you will find several Greater Cincinnati nursery locations that sell live Christmas trees. You can create a family memory that will become part of the landscape and help our natural world at the same time.

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