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My family and I have always been obsessed with Christmas trees. I have vivid childhood memories of our family tree decorating parties and of my Mother’s “Proper Tree Decorating Geometry Theory” (of which I still practice today – but that’s another story) and perhaps most of all, sitting beside the tree while enjoying the holidays with family and friends and marveling at its beauty.

However, in our household, a Christmas tree always meant one thing - It had to be a Living Tree that could be planted in our garden in the New Year. My mother was always too disturbed at the thought of cutting a tree down for the Holidays so we just always chose beautiful live specimens. The added benefit of this was enjoying each tree throughout the rest of the year in the garden, and then decorating the planted “Christmas trees” of previous years in the garden each year following. Even after we moved to the city we continued to have live trees; we simply donated them each New Year to a local municipal park.

Growing up many people thought this was somewhat eccentric, however nowadays many people are now getting into “Live Christmas Trees”. Another added bonus of having a live Christmas tree is the reduced chance of fire that cut trees possess.

Live Tree Tips

1. Plan where you are going to place your tree before you purchase it.

2. Measure out exactly the space you have. This will determine the size of tree that you can purchase.

3. Live trees are very heavy. Always have at least one friend or family member help you move your tree into place.

4. Pick a tree that has a tightly wrapped root ball. This will insure its good health.

5. Always move your tree by the root ball and never by the trunk or branches of the tree.

6. Before placing your tree from the outdoors into your home. Let it acclimatize to the warmer temperature in your garage for a few days beforehand. This will insure that it doesn’t go into shock from the temperature change.

7. Keep its root ball moist. Generally this means giving it a pitcher of water every day.

8. Find a large and festive container for the root ball. Oversized galvanized steel buckets or massive Mexican terracotta pots work very well.

Robin’s Recommended Specimens

1. Blue Spruce – The Christmas Classic. Bushy, dark green and beautiful.

2. Eastern Hemlock – A lush dark green with a crisp unusual shape.

3. Balsam Fir – Another Christmas classic. Traditional look and heavenly scent. ©2021.