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Connecticut Garden Journal: If cared for properly, live Christmas trees can be replanted after the holidays

Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi with Christmas Trees
Julianne Varacchi / Connecticut Public
NORTH BRANFORD, CT - November 9, 2020: Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi during an outtake holding tree boughs while filming New England Gardening Holiday Edition at Van Wilgen’s Garden Center in North Branford, CT.

Hopefully you've been able to purchase a live holiday tree this year. Many know of national Christmas tree shortages due to supply chain issues. But there are also local growers who still have trees, so check around. You can also use a balled and burlap tree that's planted after the holiday.

Once you have your live holiday tree home, caring for it makes a difference. The first step is to recut the base of the tree and place it in warm water in a garage or shed. This will help hydrate the needles. Then move it indoors and keep the water basin filled. The tree will suck up lots of water the first few days so check the level daily. Cover the water with plastic so pets don't drink from it.

If you're decorating a rooted tree that will be planted later, dig the hole now before the ground freezes and keep the plant in a cool garage or shed until one week before the holiday. Then move it indoors into a large basin and keep the ball moist. A cool room is best so the tree doesn't come out of dormancy with the warm indoor temperatures. My brother used to place his tree in an unheated sunroom, where it stayed cool, but you could see the tree through glass doors. As soon as the holiday is over, move the tree back into a cool garage or shed for a week, then plant outdoors. Consider protecting the foliage by driving four stakes around the tree and wrapping burlap around the stakes to block the cold winds.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.