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Q: I like the idea of using a live tree for our Christmas celebration and planting it afterward in our backyard, but when I tried this last year it didn’t make it. Is there a way to ensure the tree survives?
When planning to transition a live Christmas tree from your home to your garden, choose one that is not too large to manoeuvre. Next, provide a tray to catch water below the rootball – it’s extremely important to keep the tree from drying out and going into stress. I recommend frequently placing ice cubes on top of the rootball to slowly melt into the root system. The shorter the time in your home the better the chances for a successful transplant – 10 days is reasonable.
> How to choose a Christmas tree
> How to plant a tree
> How to stake and support plants
When you are ready to move the tree outside, check the night temperatures – if below -22°C (-8°F) transition your tree to the garage until the weather warms a little. Then dig a large hole, mix a blend of composted soil and bone meal with the removed soil and place it firmly around the rootball. Cut any strings that could choke the tree and water in with a transplanting-fertilizer mixture. Use a three-way system to stake your tree, allowing it to flex a little with the wind.