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What you need:
  • Living Christmas tree
  • Large plastic container
  • Pot tray
  • Rubber mat
  • Anti-transpirant
Keep alive the memories of a special Christmas by watching the tree grow and flourish in your garden. A living Christmas tree can bring magic to the season, or disappointment, depending on the care it receives during its stay indoors.
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Choose a healthy tree that won't grow too large for your yard (ask your garden center). Check for excessive needle drop by running your hands over a branch. Make sure that the tree has a firm root system. Avoid any that wobble or seem only loosely attached to the root ball.
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Don't keep a living tree indoors longer than 7 days. The significant change in temperature and indoor environment can cause a lot of stress. Oustide, keep the tree out of the rain and water by hand as needed.
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If outdoor lows are below 40F, before bringing your tree into the house, place it in an unheated covered porch or garage for 3-5 days to acclimate it to the warmer temperatures. Just before bringing the tree indoors, brush it thoroughly to remove dust, leaves, and spider webs. Spray it with an anti-transpirant.
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Indoors, position the tree away from heat sources; cooler is better. Your tree should last indoors 5-7 days with ample water and indoor temperatures in the mid 60's. Place a tray under the container to catch water and a rubber mat under that. Drape your tree skirt around the mat and container.
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Water your tree daily. A good way to do this is to use ice cubes. As a general rule, a 5-6' tree will need about 25-30 ice cubes daily, placed around the root ball. After the holiday, bring the tree outside. If winter temperatures are below 40F, acclimate it in the garage or porch for 3-5 days. Plant the tree as soon as possible, or grow it as a container plant and use it again, next year! If your ground is frozen during the winter months, dig a hole in advance for your living tree. Fill the hole with leaves to keep it reasonably thawed. Store the soil from the hole in an area where it won't freeze. Plant your tree as soon as weather allows after the holidays, and mulch well.