How to plant live christmas trees

How to Plant a Christmas Tree in Your Backyard

Here’s how to prepare, select, and plan to plant a Christmas tree in your backyard to keep it alive after the holiday season.

By Max Alexander

Share this story

Robin Stubbert/GAP Interiors

A faux Christmas tree that you can pack away after each holiday season is a huge convenience. But, there are a handful of benefits that come with choosing a live Christmas tree. Then, after the holiday season ends, you can plant your Christmas tree in your backyard.

Can You Plant a Christmas Tree After Using It?

Yes, you can plant your Christmas tree in your backyard if the root ball is intact. To keep your live Christmas tree after the holiday season ends, it’s best to start preparing to plant it around Thanksgiving so that you can dig a hole for it before it gets colder. However, as long as the ground is not frozen, you should be able to dig the hole after the holiday season.

How to Plant a Christmas Tree

1. Prep the Ground

  • Dig a hole roughly 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep, in preparation for the tree that will eventually be planted there.
  • Place the removed soil in plastic buckets and haul it into the garage, where it won't freeze.
  • As a planting rule of thumb, the hole should be dug about the depth of the root ball and 1.5 to 2 times the diameter. If you know the size of your tree, don't be afraid to dig a bigger hole.

2. Insulating, Protecting the Christmas Tree Planting Hole

  • After you’ve finished digging, insulate the hole to keep its walls from freezing by stuffing it with a plastic bag full of fallen leaves.
  • The last step is a safety precaution: covering the hole with a sturdy board to prevent the possibility of someone tripping or tumbling in.

3. Tree Shopping at the Nursery

  • Just before Christmas, choose your Christmas tree. Examine the trees for freshness; they should have a healthy green appearance and the needles should be flexible and not come off in the hand as you gently stroke a branch. In addition, the root ball should be well-watered.
  • If your tree has a burlap-wrapped root ball, this indicates it was grown in the ground and dug up for transport, as opposed to being a container-grown variety. Either works fine as a Christmas tree.

4. Caring for a Living Christmas Tree

  • Setting up a living Christmas tree is as simple as carrying it indoors and keeping it watered daily. To help the tree retain moisture, before bringing it into the house, spray the needles with an organic solution of pine oil suspended in water.
  • The anti-transpirant treatment partially blocks the microscopic pores, called stomata, through which the tree "exhales."
  • Both container-grown and balled-and-burlapped varieties need to be placed in watertight vessels or on large saucers in a cool location away from heat sources such as wood stoves, fireplaces, and heating vents. A decorative basket or fabric wrap completes the setup.

5. Transitioning the Tree to Cold Weather

  • A week after Christmas, move the tree to the garage before transferring it to the planting hole. Keeping it here for a day or two helps the fir acclimate to the cold.
  • Cut away the wire basket around the root ball, loosen the burlap, and position the tree in the hole.
  • You want the point where the root ball meets the trunk to be slightly higher than the natural grade because there will be some settling.

6. Safeguarding the Tree Against Freeze

  • Next, shovel in the saved backfill. Tamp it in well with the end of your shovel; if air gets in during winter, it will freeze-dry the roots.
  • Be sure to water well—really soak it down—and then mulch with the ground bark. The mulch helps avoid wide fluctuations in soil temperature and conserves moisture.
  • As with a shrub or tree planted in the spring, it should be watered regularly thereafter.

Replanting A Christmas Tree - Planting A Christmas Tree Outside After Christmas

Home › Ornamental Gardens › Trees › Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

By: Heather Rhoades

Image by 1carson2

Christmas is a time to create fond memories, and what better way is there to keep a memento of Christmas than by planting a Christmas tree out in your yard. You may wonder, “Can you plant your Christmas tree after Christmas?” and the answer is yes, you can. Replanting a Christmas tree requires some planning, but if you are willing to plan ahead, you can enjoy your lovely Christmas tree for years to come.

Before you even buy the Christmas tree you will be replanting, you may also want to consider digging the hole that you will be planting the Christmas tree in. Chances are the ground will not yet be frozen at that time and by the time Christmas is over the chances that the ground will be frozen will have increased. Having a hole ready will help the chances that your tree will survive.

When you plan on planting a Christmas tree, you need to make sure to purchase a live Christmas tree that has been sold with the root ball still intact. Typically, the root ball will come covered by a piece of burlap. Once a tree is cut from the root ball, it can no longer be planted outside, so make sure that the trunk and the root ball of the Christmas tree remain undamaged.

Consider buying a smaller tree as well. A smaller tree will go through the transition from outdoors to indoors to outdoors again.

When you decide to replant a Christmas tree outside after the holidays, you also need to accept that you will not be able to enjoy the tree indoors as long as you would a cut tree. This is because indoor conditions can put a live Christmas tree at risk. Expect that your Christmas tree will only be able to be in the house for 1 to 1 ½ weeks. Any longer than this, you reduce the chance that your Christmas tree will be able to adapt to the conditions outside again.

When planting a Christmas tree, start by keeping the tree outside in a cold and sheltered place. When you buy your Christmas tree, it has been harvested in the cold and has already gone into dormancy. You need to keep it in that dormant state to help it survive being replanted. Keeping it in a cold place outside until you are ready to bring it indoors will help with this.

Once you bring your live Christmas tree indoors, place it in a draft free location away from heaters and vents. Wrap the root ball in plastic or wet sphagnum moss. The root ball must stay damp the entire time the tree is in the house. Some people suggest using ice cubes or daily watering to help keep the root ball moist.

Once Christmas is over, move the Christmas tree you intend to replant back outside. Place the tree back into the cold, sheltered area for a week or two so that the tree can re-enter dormancy if it has started to come out of dormancy while it was in the house.

Now you are ready to replant your Christmas tree. Remove the burlap and any other coverings on the root ball. Place the Christmas tree in the hole and backfill the hole. Then cover the hole with several inches (5 to 10 cm.) of mulch and water the tree. You do not need to fertilize at this time. Fertilize the tree in the spring.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Christmas Trees

Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

You might also like…

Features of planting spruce - tips from Greensad

How to plant a Christmas tree

Today, many amateur gardeners plant conifers on their plots. Indeed, their appearance will decorate any site, and coniferous plants are considered unpretentious in care. Perhaps the most difficult moment is planting a young seedling, and especially a large one. Spruce is one of the most popular coniferous trees among gardeners. In order for the spruce to endure the planting well and take root in your area, you must observe the following planting rules spruce.
Spruce trees do not tolerate overdrying of the roots; the plant must necessarily be with a clod of earth, which must be moistened as it dries. Therefore, buy only plants in containers and only in garden centers. Tempted by a low price in the market, as a result, you will most likely lose both money and time.

Spruce planting

There are two favorable periods for planting fir trees - this is the end of April and the end of August. At this time the root system of grows intensively, so the spruce will take root faster. For a tree, you need to choose the right place. If the tree is small decorative, then you can plant a spruce on the site and not far from the house. Ordinary spruce has a superficial root system, so it will interfere with other plants and plantings, taking all their moisture . Then it is better to plant it outside the site. But if you still want to see her on your site, then you should cut her roots every year. If the tree grew in the forest, then to transplant it, you need to orient yourself to the cardinal points and plant the spruce in the same way as it grew in the forest. If plant a Christmas tree according to this principle, then the tree will take root faster.

How to transplant spruce

Having bought a seedling, and having chosen a place for planting, prepare the planting hole itself . It is dug in advance: the upper diameter is 40-60 cm, the lower diameter is 30-50 cm, the depth is 50-70 cm. For heavy soil and for places where soil waters are high, place " drainage " on the bottom - crushed stone or broken brick with sand in a layer of 15-20 cm. Prepare the potting mix to fill the planting hole. The soil from the pit is mixed with peat, humus and sand are added. It is advisable to add fertilizer-nitroammophoska 100-150g (3/4 cup) when planting. Later, feeding is optional. The optimal proportions of soil for planting spruces: 2 parts of sod land, 2 parts of leafy soil, 1 part of peat, 1 part of sand.

When can spruce be transplanted:

The recommended time for planting seedlings (seedlings) is usually spring, before the start of growth (vegetation) and autumn, from the beginning of September, and autumn planting ends before the onset of cold weather. Trees - large spruce trees (more than 3 meters high) are recommended to be planted from November to March, with a frozen earthen clod.

Now proceed directly to the landing. Pour the soil mixture into the pit over the drainage layer, so that the surface of the earth in the container coincides with the surface of the earth at the landing site (be sure to take into account the shrinkage of the soil), pour 5 liters of water into the pit. Carefully remove the seedling from the container and place the root ball in the hole. Remember that it is undesirable to destroy an earthen ball. If this happens, you have 15-20 minutes left to complete the landing. The plant is placed in the hole as it is convenient, important, Align the trunk vertically on all sides, fill it up, without strongly tamping the root ball with the prepared soil mixture. When planting spruce, it is necessary to water the planted tree. This is done primarily so that the earth fills all the voids and tightly fits the root system of the seedling. To do this, make a small earthen dump around the seedling from the earth. This will hold water when watering. Another 10-20 liters of water are poured, depending on the size and age of the seedling. If spruce planting is carried out in summer, then in the next month and a half of spruce planting, it is necessary to pour 10-20 liters of water under the tree once a week (depending on size).
During the first year after planting, the soil in the holes will settle. The trunk circle should be mulched with peat or compost with a layer 5 cm thick. This will retain moisture, increase the temperature of the soil, and enrich it with nutrients. In the spring, the mulch is mixed with the soil, gently loosening around young plantings to a depth of no more than 5-7 cm.

Recommended spruce care

Keep in mind, spruces love good lighting, but young seedlings need shading . Therefore, either plant them near fences or buildings that will provide the necessary shade in the first years of life, or consider how this can be done in another way. Spruces can be planted singly or in groups, with a distance between trees in a row of 2 to 3 meters, but not less than 1 m. Do not forget that the spruce root system, although is superficial , takes up a lot of space around the tree itself. Over the years, she may encounter obstacles (the foundation of the house, communications). In this case, it will suffer itself and can harm your buildings. Do not forget about the competition for food and light between plants. Due to the fact that spruce has a superficial root system, spruces cannot stand trampling and soil compaction. Mulching with peat or sawdust for the winter is recommended for the first two years after planting young seedlings (6-8cm layer). It is also desirable to cover young spruce seedlings for the winter with spruce branches.

In the spring, after early spring frosts, the spruce branches are removed. Mature plants are quite winter-hardy and do not require additional protection. Often young spruce seedlings suffer from the bright spring sun (February-March). Due to the fact that the earth is still frozen and the root system does not really work, I deliver moisture to the needles, the latter simply burn out. Moreover, it is impossible to notice this immediately, the needles crumble in the summer, and the plant will lose its beauty. To prevent this from happening, we once again remind you of the need shade spruce saplings. Trees become more resilient with age.

Additional watering is recommended during long absence of rain, mandatory during droughts. Take a handful of soil from under the plant and squeeze it in your fist. Unclench your fist, if the lump crumbles, then watering is required. With sufficiently moist soil, the clod does not crumble. If, when the soil is compressed, it spreads between the fingers, then the soil is waterlogged . When watering, water is poured not under the trunk of the seedling, but around the root ball, in a circle 20-30 cm from the trunk. In dry and hot weather, soil moisture should be monitored. Watering in hot weather: 10-12 liters, once a week for each plant.

How to plant a Christmas tree - Articles


  • Introduction
  • Selection of seedling
  • Site selection and landing dates
  • Planting tools and mechanisms
  • Preservation and planting of seedlings
  • Conclusion

Diverse and many-sided, decorative throughout the year, coniferous plants are increasingly found not only in the landscaping of ceremonial urban areas, but also in the design of cozy city courtyards and private gardens. Easy to care for, they are perfectly combined with many decorative foliage and flowering plants, create green protective screens and hedges, become the center of a topiary garden or rockery, provide dense shade and cover cozy arbors with their fluffy paws.

In order for the coniferous plant you have chosen to grow and fully develop, it is important to plant it correctly and provide the necessary care.

Seedling selection

Planting material must not only be of high quality, but also meet certain criteria, the most important of which is the winter hardiness of the plant. There is a map of plant frost resistance zones, and it is very important that the number of the winter hardiness zone of the plant you have chosen is no more than 1 unit more, but better - it matches or is less. In more detail, the criteria for choosing coniferous plants are discussed in the article "Which tree to choose for planting on the site."

Planting seedlings of coniferous trees

A high-quality seedling must fully correspond to the original variety in terms of biological characteristics, such as the shape of the crown, the size of the internodes, the color and characteristics of the bark and needles. It is desirable that its branches start low enough and evenly surround the trunk. A good seedling with a closed root system is removed from the container along with the ground, which is tightly braided with pinkish-white or yellowish roots, depending on the variety. The earthen ball does not crumble, but protects the roots from mechanical damage, drying out and retains the natural mycorrhiza familiar to the roots - the mycelium, which helps better nutrition. The crown of the seedling should be fresh and elastic, quickly recover after compression, and the needles should be bright and juicy, without shrunken tips. The plant should not show any signs of disease or resin smudges. The size of the seedling is not so important, but it should be remembered that young seedlings need time to grow and develop, and plants - large-sized - trees from 3 to 10 m high can give instant results.

Seedling with good root system

Site selection and landing dates

When compiling coniferous compositions, it is very important to choose the right landing site, taking into account the nearest communications, buildings and plantings, take into account the size of the plants in their adult state, the characteristics of lighting, soil and the level of groundwater.

The level of groundwater occurrence is very important for the growth and development of coniferous plants. With a high occurrence of water (less than 1 m), simple drainage during planting may not be enough; either drainage of the entire area or soil filling will be required. For the most part, coniferous plants prefer permeable, well-drained soils with a groundwater level of more than 1 m, and preferably 1.5 - 2 m.

Large volumes in containers

When choosing a landing site, lighting is one of the most important factors. It should be remembered that most conifers are photophilous plants. They love the sun, but can also grow in the shade of spruce, arborvitae, junipers and fir. Hemlocks and yews can grow in considerable shade. Pines and larches in the shade lose not only needles, but also branches. Different varieties of plants have their own criteria for the amount of light, but most often plants with green needles grow well both in the sun and in partial shade. Trees and shrubs with silver, blue, variegated or golden needles prefer light partial shade.

Conifers prefer sandy or fairly permeable loamy, not heavy, well-drained soils. On moist and clay soil, thujas, spruces and cypresses can grow, and pines and junipers on sandy soil. Most conifers like acidic soil, while black pine, yew berry and Cossack juniper prefer alkaline soil. Fir, larch and hemlock soils are more demanding on the composition and moisture content of the soil. When planting, you can improve or change the mechanical composition of the soil by replacing part of the soil in the planting hole, and if necessary, make it looser and change the acidity.

Planting dates

Seedlings with a closed root system (up to 3 m high) can be planted at any time of the year, but preferably in spring or autumn, so that the root system has time to adapt to a new place. To achieve the best result when planting, the winter hardiness zone should be taken into account. If we talk about the central region of Russia, it is preferable to plant heat-loving plants in spring (Crimean pine, Weymouth) to form a good root system and, accordingly, better preparation for winter. During summer planting, there is a risk of plant death due to lack of water, but in the case of optimal and careful care, this period is not a limitation for planting. Plants - large-sized can be planted at any time of the year, provided that the plant was harvested in advance and has a healthy appearance. The optimal period for planting large-sized coniferous trees is the winter period. In this case, the preparation does not need to be done in advance.

Digging large

Planting tools and gears

To plant small coniferous plants, you will not need a special tool - a shovel, a wheelbarrow, perhaps an ax, a pruner, a hacksaw will be enough. For planting large-sized plants, in addition to the usual tools, special carts and manipulators will be required, and possibly crane equipment, since plants with an earthen clod can weigh from 100 kg to 1.5 tons. It is better to entrust the planting of such plants to specialists.

Planting large conifers

Saving and planting seedlings

When planting a seedling, do not remove it from the container in advance. The landing pit is made twice as large in height and width as an earthen clod. At the bottom, you can pour 10 - 15 cm of the drainage layer (sand, crushed stone, expanded clay, broken brick) and sprinkle with an earthen mixture prepared taking into account the needs of the plant, or ready-made coniferous soil mixture.

Apply the required amount of complex mineral fertilizers, calculated on its type and age. With the help of careful transshipment, we place the plant in the planting pit without violating the integrity of the earthen coma. Pay attention to the root neck of the plant (the place where the trunk passes into the root) - it should be at the level of the soil. Water the plant well by adding growth stimulants (Heteroauxin, Epin, Zircon, Kornevin), and when the water is absorbed, cover it with the prepared soil mixture, leaving no voids. Compact the soil and water generously again. For better rooting, water conservation and weed protection, mulch the soil around the seedling (needles, bark, cones, fine gravel, etc. ). If the plant is large, then it should be fixed with stretch marks and stakes, trim the damaged branches and form a crown. After 7 - 10 days, foliar top dressing of the plant can be carried out using Epin or Zircon.

Bark mulching

After planting the plant, provide it with regular watering, if necessary - shading from the sun, as well as sprinkling, which will provide the necessary air humidity for the period of plant adaptation. Heat-loving plants (with a border zone of winter hardiness) in the first two years, protect from frost, wind and active spring sun with the help of shelter.

You can read about further care for coniferous plants on our website in the article "How to care for a Christmas tree on the site."

Coniferous plants do not like transplants, and therefore it is necessary to choose the right place for planting and, if at first, until the seedlings have grown, voids form between them in the composition - they can be filled with decorative leafy and flowering herbaceous plants or decorated with interesting snags and stones.

Arrangements of coniferous plants in the park


Coniferous plants in the garden are not just a tribute to fashion. Fluffy and soft larch or fir, prickly herringbone, picturesque pine, bright yew or delicate juniper can make any composition unique and add a unique charm to the garden. Decorative throughout the year, they are able to provide not only a spectacular view of the garden and buildings, but also fill the air with therapeutic phytoncides and give a good mood. Even in winter, when all processes slow down in the garden when the temperature drops, and less phytoncides are released, at home we can get medicinal volatile substances if we buy live Christmas trees, pines, and fir.

In our online store you can purchase coniferous trees for planting the size you need. You can also supplement growing compositions with small coniferous Christmas trees in pots. Our specialists are ready to help in the selection of plants and their subsequent planting.

Learn more