The Care of Live Christmas Trees

The Care of Live Christmas Trees

The Care of Live Christmas Trees.  What exactly is a Live Christmas Tree?  It is a live evergreen pine tree that you can use to decorate for the Christmas season.  The root system is encased in a burlap sack  Sometimes this balled up sack is reinforced with chicken wire.  The majority of these trees are evergreen pine trees.

It’s important to note that these trees contain soil that is condensed and heavy.  Always ask for help to move from area to area or use a good dolly to move around.  It is a lot easier to move if the tree comes inside a good container as shown below.  

The Care of Live Christmas Trees
Pinon in burlap sack inside a bucket.

Around the Southwest, they are usually Afghan pines or PiƱon trees.  There are other types like Austrian, and Japanese pines but for the purpose of this article, we will stick to the Afghan and Pinon conifer trees.

Both of these trees are drought tolerant and can tolerate poor soil.  Before purchasing a Pinon or Afghan pine make sure it is in a burlap sack or in a good container.  Grab the tree trunk and move it around if it moves inside the bucket and soil does not…this is NOT a good sign.  Go to another tree or nursery. 

Live Christmas Trees for indoor decoration

When you bring the tree home there are a couple of things to know so that your tree will thrive indoors and outdoors when it’s time to plant it.

These trees make great Christmas trees because you can use them indoors as a live Christmas tree then plant them outdoors after the holidays.  You can decorate it with lights, hanging ornaments just like cut or artificial trees. 

The less amount of time indoors the better as it will acclimate itself to the warmer indoor temperatures.  To balance this out you should place a bag of ice on top of the root ball making sure it will drain cool water into the soil.  Do this at least twice while it is inside your home or office.  

After Christmas is over

Once the Christmas season is over if possible move the tree to the garage or a shed for about one week or so before taking it outdoors.  This will give it a chance to acclimate to the colder outdoor temperatures. 

Now, before planting make sure your hole is twice as wide and about the same depth as the container.  Place the balled root into the hole without removing the burlap sack.  Breaking up the burlap sack and removing the soil will stress the tree and the chances of it dying are increased.  The root system will easily break through the burlap sack.  Snipping off the chicken wire is also a good idea but not necessary as the roots will pop out through the holes. 

The Care of Live Christmas Trees
A large Pinon tree. Click this image for a larger view.


Afghan Pine Trees for Christmas
A row of large Afghan Pines. Click the picture for a larger image.

How much water

Water about once per week until the spring season about 4-5 gallons each time.  Once the warmer weather comes around start watering about 2-3 times per week until fall.  Go back to about once per week schedule during the fall and winter months.  You can cut back on your watering considerably after three or four years in the ground.  Your family will enjoy the tree for years to come.

The Care of Live Christmas Trees

Learn more about these pines over at – Pine Trees Southwest.

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