First Planting – the Christmas tree!

live tree

No one expects you to go and buy SOLELY organic foods (or even locally-grown, never mind nationally-grown!) in your grocery store. It’s just too expensive in the case of the former, and too hard to find in the case of the latter – but did you realize that with just a tiny back-yard (or even on a balcony in an apartment building ) you can be growing many of your own fruits and veg?  !    So much healthier, AND cheaper, in the long run!   And the more we plant that BLOSSOMS and BLOOMS the better the chances of saving the bees. Because, folks, in case you haven’t heard – if they go, we all go! SO, BEE ORGANIC ! You don’t need money, talent, or even a lot of time to get G R O W I N G  !

Every year at this time, we all start to get excited about another growing season – but something that should have been in the ground even before now was our live Christmas tree.  You don’t need to- and shouldn’t- wait until spring for this, if possible.  Our little tree served many purposes this year: tree with lights shining both in and outside, presents on the table all around its base… then, after the presents were unwrapped – a lovely colour-coordinated table centrepiece ! Now, because of our move to New Brunswick, this little gem is going to my friend Anne’s farm and will hopefully grow big and strong for decades to come… Here are some of the tips for planting your live tree – some are from me, some from various authors at old wiki…

Readjust the tree to outdoor temperatures after the holidays, by placing it back on the sheltered porch or in the garage for several days. It is important to plant your tree as soon as possible after the holidays. Do not wait until spring. Select a planting site that has well-drained soil, full sun and that is appropriate for the mature tree’s size

Plant the tree and make sure that the hole is the same depth but at least twice and preferably five times wider than the root ball. Be sure not to plant the tree too deeply. Do not over prepare the back fill with organic matter. If the soil is fertile and well-drained, amendments should not be needed.

Place the soil on a tarp, in a basket, etc. Store this in a warm place until you are ready to use it. If you are going to stake the tree, be sure to place the stakes in the ground before the ground freezes. Stakes should be removed in the spring.

Remove the synthetic burlap completely since it can cause root girdling. Remove natural burlap from the top of the root ball, to avoid drying out the root ball.

Remove containers from container-grown trees and cut and loosen any encircling roots. Remove at least the top portion of wire tree baskets after the root ball is in the planting hole.

Fill the hole around the freshly set tree with the loosened, unamended soil from the planting hole. Backfill around the root ball in stages, gently firming in each layer of soil. Water well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Apply 2 or 3 inches (5.1 or 7.6 cm) of mulch on top of the root ball. It is not necessary to fertilize until spring.

When you get ready to plant your tree, be sure it is planted at the same depth it was grown at the nursery. After putting the tree in the hole, remove any plastic and burlap. If the tree was container-grown, be sure to loosen outside roots and prune broken roots. Also redirect roots, which wrap around the soil mix so they will grow out away from the tree. Fill in the hole with the soil you have stored and heel it in firmly. Use any remaining soil to build a ridge three to four inches high around the outside edge of the soil ball. This “bowl” will help you insure that all of the roots are watered properly. Remove this ridge of soil in the spring. Now mulch it with two to three inches of a good mulch. Keep the tree watered during HOT weather periods until it has ‘taken’.