Plant Out Your Tree

04 . 01 . 13

Happy New Year!  So the festive period is truly winding down now and things are getting back to normal, and that means that this weekend is the deadline for taking down all of your decorations.  But what to do with your Christmas tree?  If you’ve got a living tree which still has its roots intact (either in a pot or bagged in a root ball​), then you can plant your tree out to keep on growing.  You may wish to dig it up to decorate again next year, or you could do the same as one family whom we know who plant out their Christmas tree every year and now have a stand of over twelve trees of varying heights along the back of their garden.

If you want to plant out your Christmas tree, then here are a few steps to take to help your living decoration’s re-entry into it’s natural habitat:

– Let the tree acclimatise in a cold but sheltered environment (such as a garage or shed) for a few days first.

– Pick an appropriate spot, with well drained soil and adequate sunlight.  The image above is a clearing behind a small bay on the North Cornish coast where the National Trust had cleared several mature trees to allow younger saplings to flourish.

– Dig a hole as deep as the root ball but at least 2-5 times wider in diameter.  If you live somewhere where the ground is often frozen or covered in snow then it’s wise to pre-dig your hole and fill it with straw until you need to plant your tree, keeping the soil in a wheel barrow in a shed so that it too doesn’t freeze solid.

– Remove the tree from it’s container (or the burlap from around the roots) and loosen, cutting if necessary, the larger roots that are likely to be encircling the root ball in order to free them all up a bit and allow them to continue growing outwards.

– Backfill the hole in stages, tamping the soil down in stages and leaving a ridge around the outside of the top soil to direct water down onto the roots until the Spring.

Bear in mind that your tree is likely to grow up to 2 feet each year (approximately 60cm) and Norwegian Spruces can grow up to 100 foot (25 metres) tall so you need to think about where you’re planting it.  Do consider planting your tree out if you’re able to though, it seems such a waste otherwise to remove a tree from nature for just a couple of weeks and then throw it in the bin or on a bonfire.  Christmas trees can be for life, not just for Christmas!

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