Keep a Tree for Life

Recycle your Christmas tree by potting it on and enjoying it on your patio throughout summer. Then bring it back inside for a second or even third season before planting it outside in the ground.
Small Christmas Tree

Small Christmas Tree

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Materials Needed:

  • 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)
  • clippers

Water Well

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.

Watering Re-Potted Christmas Tree

Watering Re-Potted Christmas Tree

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Preparing to Plant a Tree

Preparing to Plant a Tree

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Dislodge Root Ball From Pot and Slide Out

Dislodge Root Ball From Pot and Slide Out

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add Fertilizer

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.

Adding Fertilizer to Soil

Adding Fertilizer to Soil

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Shape Up

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.”

Clip Back To Create Single Leader Stem

Clip Back To Create Single Leader Stem

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tree Choices

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.

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