Monday, January 30, 2006

Potted Christmas Trees

Getting a potted Christmas tree may be something that you have considered. These trees are huge, and they grow for years and years. They may be a wonderful way to add foliage to your yard while thinking of Christmas throughout the year.

When I was a child, my grandparents had three of these firs in their yard. They still have one. they have cut the others down. The one remaining Christmas tree has been cut back with the crown a good 10 feet off the ground. The trees basically started to overtake their yard. There were balls, bats, and bikes (I am sure of it) inside these giant firs. You had to walk around them to get anywhere in the yard. While they were cute and shaped at first, they quickly became unruly.

So if you are considering getting a potted Christmas tree, think about the factors involved. You can avoid yours becoming like the ones my grandparents owned (maybe), but you do have your work cut out for you. First know that if you are going to get one to use as your Christmas tree and then put it in the yard, you will need to get a small tree. The chance of transplant shock, a condition the tree will not survive, increases with the size of the plant, so you need a baby tree.

You also should know that even if you do everything right, there still is only about a 50 percent chance that your tree will make it. You also can only leave it inside for about 10 days before you must move it outside. While those factors may make you reconsider, if they do not, then read on. Here is what you need to know.

You may want to think about leaving the tree in its pot until the spring comes. Either way, you will need to water it often. These are thirsty plants, so you cannot skip a day. If you do replant it, then you should plant it at same depth as the pot and put mulch around it. Keep an eye on it until the spring, when you may want to replant it to get it positioned better in the ground.

Take the time to think about where to keep the tree. Remember my grandparents' yard. Part of the problem was that they planted two of the trees in front of each other at opposite ends of the porch. The other one was on the side of the house. They took over. These trees were literally 30 feet in circumference by the time they had to get rid of them. They started to take over the other trees as well as bothering the roof of the house. Do not put them near power lines or anything else. Keep in mind that they will grow much larger so plan ahead for it. One good option is to plant them in the corner so that they grow into it and do not take up as much space.

Although these admonitions may make growing a potted Christmas tree sound unappealing, they can be very beautiful plant. Just because they are difficult to grow does not mean that you should give up on them. It just means that you should consider whether or not you want to make a 25-year commitment to a tree that can be a serious pain even if you are taking care of it.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort to take care of a large Christmas tree, then go for it. They are great for decorating at the holidays, which my grandparents did for years. They must be cut back every year, though, and even then they get unruly. They become too much for my grandparents to do, and no one else had the desire to climb up to cut them because the needles itch.

When I visited my grandparents recently, I was sad to see that they had cut the final one up so that it is no longer recognizable as a Christmas tree. Those trees terrified us as children and were the source of more than one scary story. Still they were part of our childhood, and I will miss them - just not enough to plant my own.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: