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Caring For Potted Trees During The Festive Season And Afterwards

Of course Potted Christmas trees seem like a more responsible way to buy your festive Christmas Tree. Here are some ideas how you could use them at home:

  • Use as a table top decoration
  • Ideal for a decoration in your home or to brighten up your doorway
  • Use it once more at Christmas time for you main tree, or leave it planted in your garden more permanently.

You will want to find out if the tree is a potted Christmas tree or a container grown tree. A potted Christmas tree will have been grown for at least a year in its container, and so as it is a real Christmas tree but what you're really buying is a temporary houseplant (to use as a table decoration or in your home or doorway).

When buying your tree, ask if your potted Christmas tree is actually container-grown or has been recently dug up and potted, as there is often confusion between the two. If you want a tree that will last outside for years to come, you will want a container grown tree instead.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association describes a container-grown tree as being grown in the pot; the roots are developed in the container so is said to be stronger and more healthy (as it hasn't been dug up). A potted tree may be container-grown, but is often dug from the plantation and replanted in a pot prior to sale.

When your Christmas tree is inside avoid placing your tree close to a fire or radiator – this will cause excessive moisture loss and needle drop.

Perhaps one of the most important things to ensure your tree survives is the watering. Too much water and your potted tree will die of 'trench foot', too little and the leaves will turn brown and fall. Always check that the container has good drainage and some sort of saucer underneath to catch any excess water.

It's best to check the soil every day to make sure it's not drying out; even small trees will have lots of roots and if you knock the container off you'll see it's full of roots little soil.

Keeping your tree in the container

The main downside of container trees is that roots of all trees are pretty ferocious and the taller the tree the more roots are needed to keep the water supply going. So to thrive in containers, the trees tend to be pretty small, around 3-5 feet. Anything larger isn't going to be healthy in a pot and it would be very difficult to move around.

You can slow down the growth during the year of both the top (leader branch) and the roots by keeping it in the container you bought it in, but it will really need a lot of looking after through the summer to make sure it doesn't dry out.

Planting your Christmas Tree in the Garden

After Christmas when planting your Potted Christmas tree in the garden, it's important to place it in the right spot. Put the tree in a sheltered spot as they like cool, moist conditions, and think about its position during hot summers, it should not be in direct sunlight. Also, ensure it's well watered during dry spells. If you want to keep it in the garden thereafter it should be fine with the above care.

When the festive season comes round again, well done, it survived! You should bring your potted tree indoors as late as possible before the big day like the weekend before Christmas, its a good idea not to keep living trees in the house for longer than 12 days. Afterwards, planting out again for the second new year will probably be fine, put it in a sunny spot and it'll grow well and put on a season of growth both in its branches and its roots. Once a tree gets to about six feet the roots needed to sustain it are going to be more spread than can be put into a container.

If you want to bring your planted Christmas tree inside for a second festive season after being out in the garden (this will be dependant on the height of the tree) you can, but after that, it will more than likely need disposing of or better still recycling.

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