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Old 11-22-2007, 02:37 AM   #1
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How do I keep Christmas trees alive?

Every year I buy a live Christmas tree in a pot hoping to plant it outside when the thaw comes.
Well they keep dying before I get a chance to plant them outside.
Would anyone have any tips about keeping it alive?
Mel

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Old 11-22-2007, 02:40 AM   #2
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What have you been doing? Probably easier to suggest where you are going wrong rather than come up with ideas.

What is the root system like on the trees generally?
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:42 AM   #3
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Is the pot too small?
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:51 AM   #4
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The tree is around 4 feet tall. I usually just leave it in the pot is comes in and hope to plant it outside in March. I keep it until then in the house so the sudden change of temperature wont kill it. Maybe I should put it ouside sooner, in case the pot is too small? I have another pot which is slightly bigger than the one it comes in. I wonder if it would be worth transferring it to that one. And it is a prettier pot for Christmas too.

I usually water it now and again. I wait until the soil is dry and then give water. This seems to keep my house plants healthy but not the Christmas trees.

I dont know anything about root systems so I cant coment about that.
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:04 AM   #5
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As to the roots I was wondering if they were cut/damaged when the retailer puts it in the pot. I'm with Rom that it might need a bigger pot but I am loathe to suggest doing it before Christmas in case it starts to wilt.

How long do you have it before it starts to look dodgy? If it is slowly dying from day one (effectively), it could be that it has got damaged roots. Try another retailer if you usually go to the same one. (Always assuming that you have that as an option.)

Don't know that you will have much luck but you can try a couple of things: Transplant it into a much bigger tub - this is a tree don't forget, put some sort of mulch and water retaining crystals around the base (but not to close to the trunk) (the crystals can be mixed in with the soil), use a product that protects the tree from stress (we have something called StressGuard) as you are trying to grow it in a warm environment (assuming you have fires/heaters on in winter) and keep the soil moist.

Still think you have damaged roots as the main reason. These trees aren't treated with a lot of respect by some retailers - just a quick buck. I would be looking for one that was grown in a bag rather than something sold in a pot.
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:15 AM   #6
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Thanks very much for the tips Bilby.
Unfortunately I think u may be right about the roots being damaged since the the trees never survive.

I usually dont notice the Christmas tree is dying until it starts shedding a lot of needles.



Mel
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:21 AM   #7
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Look Mel, I have khaki coloured thumbs but I watch/listen to a lot of gardening shows. However there maybe a much more experienced gardener that can help you more.

When you get rid of this year's tree, take it out of the pot and have a look at the roots. I suspect you will find they have been cut, or if grown in the pot, severely pot-bound. Think it is one of those markets where they do NOT want you growing your own so it doesn't do them any good to look after the plant. It just needs to last to Christmas Day and then most people just chuck them out. It seems such a sin.
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:27 AM   #8
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It sure is a pit Bilby.
At least the trees make compost for the garden. I usually chop them up into little pieces when I find they are dead and then feed the garden with them.

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Old 11-22-2007, 03:29 AM   #9
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Gee you're good! I leave nature to provide mulch for my garden - I have a lot of trees with an abundance of dropping leaves!
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:15 AM   #10
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You cannot keep a tree in the house for months. Usually only a week to ten days is recommended.

You have to plant it even if it is cold outside. So if your ground is going to be frozen, dig the hole for it earlier. Then plant it even if it is cold.

If you Google living Christmas tree care you will find a number ways to take care of your tree.

Good luck this year.
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