Keep a Tree for Life
To ensure a wide choice, buy your tree early in the season. Water it every day, and prevent needle loss by storing it in a shed, garage or greenhouse with good naturual light for a few weeks before brinigng it inside. Display your tree in a cool place indoors, keeping it well watered, and repot it in the new year.
- large plastic pot
- broken clay pot pieces
- soil-based ericaceous potting mix
- sturdy gloves
- well-rotted organic matter, such as manure
- all-purpose granular fertilizer (eg, Growmore)
When the festive season is over, store your tree for a few weeks in a shed, as you did before bringing it into the house for Christmas. Water it frequently, and don’t allow the soil to dry out.
Prepare a New Container
Buy a plastic pot, which will be light and easy to move around, one size larger than the original container. Put some broken clay pot pieces over the drainage holes at the bottom and add a layer of soil on top.
Remove the Tree
Wearing heavy-duty gloves, squeeze the tree’s pot around the sides to dislodge the root ball,and slide it out. Place the tree in its new pot.
Check that there is 2 in (5 cm) between the top of the root ball and the pot rim. Fill in around the roots with soil mixed with some fertilizer.
Water the tree well. Trim back the stems lightly with clippers to create a cone shape. If there are two stems at the top, cut one back to a bud to leave a single “leader.”
If you want to keep your tree after Christmas, it is important to buy one that has been grown in a container. To check that a tree is suitable for growing on, carefully slide it out of its pot and check that it has lots of small feeder roots, just like any other container-grown plant you would buy.