Christmas Tree Care
Keeping your Christmas tree maintained is a tremendous way to put on a terrific tree display even after the festive season has ended.
Once you know how, it’s easy to do! With these handy tips, you can keep your evergreen happy through January and perhaps replant it ready for next year’s Christmas too!
Full, fresh and fragrant
The 12 days of Christmas are enjoyed long after the excitement of Christmas day has ended and though, ideally, these tree tips will have been taken care of when your tree was first bough, it’s never too late to implement these care tips—especially if you’re hoping to reuse your tree next year. To keep your indoor tree looking fresh until the 6th of January, which is when we start taking decorations down, first you need to recognise the dramatic climate change these trees are under. Start by ensuring that your tree is able to survive the whole of the Christmas period by preparing it properly. If not done so already, take a Kent and Stowe pruning saw and trim about 2 centimetres off the bottom of your tree stump. This is beneficial because when plant stems are cut, the cells at the base often seal up to prevent water being lost but this also stops the tree taking up more water—cut trees require much more water than you might first think. Generally, cut trees will drink up to 2 pints per day so keep this in mind when they’re decked out in decorations long after the presents from under the tree have been enjoyed.
Additional food can be added to the tree’s container to provide it with the nutrients it needs to remain looking vibrant. Think of this in the same way you would think of any bunch of cut flowers, usually we would add in sugar to keep the petals from dropping or drooping. Add in full fat lemonade or stir in a couple of spoonfuls of sugar into the water before you give it to the tree. In the same vain, it’s wise to consider where your tree is situated. If you’ve placed it next to a radiator or other heat source, it’s likely to look lifeless very quickly, as they’re not suited to warmer environments. Keeping your tree cool will also help to prevent needle drop. For more on this, check out my blog.
Recycling and replanting
If your tree is usually destined for the rubbish bin, it’s worth first checking whether your local council run a Christmas tree recycling scheme—or there may be a charity running a scheme nearby. Some councils will even offer collection, so check online for your local regulations. For repurposing at home, trees can also be broken down and added to your compost heap—but bear in mind that they take a while to break down. You can also use the needles as a protective mulch over your soil, they’ll decompose slowly adding nutrients and insulating your soil. If you op to chop the tree up, use your saw to slice up the trunk and then you can use it for firewood over January’s cold snap.
Of course, if you want a tree to last more than just the festive season, you’ll need a tree in potted soil. This will make it easier to replant after you’ve enjoyed it’s decoration indoors. Planting outside is easy, begin by acclimatising the tree by gradually moving it outdoors during the day and back inside at night. Then, choose a dry day when the ground is not frozen or waterlogged to begin digging. Alternatively, dig a hole during a warmer time, saving the soil for later, so that the hole is already prepared for you. Water the tree really well to hydrate the roots and make it easy to remove the pot and then plant with the root ball at the same depth as it was in the pot. Fill in the hole and water copiously, remembering to keep it hydrated during any dry spells. You can even apply an organic mulch around the base of the tree, keeping an eye on the surrounding soil moisture.
When next Christmas arrives you have two options for what to do with your planted tree. It can either be dug up again and brought inside—this is likely to cause some damage to the roots as the temperature changes between hot and cold can be harmful. Or, the other option is to leave it where it is outside and decorate it with outdoor lights. This way, whenever you gaze across the garden your tree will provide a glistening garden display. But my favourite idea for an outdoor Christmas tree is to use it as a friendly festive bird buffet by dressing it with pinecone feeders and hanging seed baubles. Not only will this provide your garden birds a much-needed food supply over the winter, it will encourage them into your garden and deliver your very own bird watching paradise.