Choosing to plant a Christmas tree in your garden rather than opting for a cut tree every year is a sustainable practice that’s really growing in popularity. This trend reflects a heightened environmental consciousness and a collective desire to infuse the festive season with eco-friendly values. Planting Christmas trees not only combats deforestation when Christmas trees are removed for seasonal sale, but also measures up with a wider commitment to year-round sustainability. The decision to plant instead of cut ensures that these trees continue to thrive, providing a great habitat for wildlife and enhancing the overall greenery of your garden.

When deciding to plant a Christmas tree in the garden, you need to take a few things into account. Firstly, think about choosing the right variety of tree for your area; the climate and soil have to be right for your type of tree. You’ll also need to plan a suitable space to ensure the tree has room to reach its mature size without causing overcrowding or overshadowing other plants. Take into account regular watering and a consistent maintenance routine, so that the tree is pruned regularly and kept free from pests to keep it healthy.

With a little forward planning, planting your garden Christmas tree will be a success and you’ll have a beautiful festive tree to enjoy year after year in your garden.

Choose Christmas Trees Suitable for Planting

As the tradition of planting your own Christmas trees gains momentum for its eco-friendly appeal, understanding the various types of trees suitable for replanting is essential. Different types of live Christmas trees have different features and some are more suitable for replanting than others.

  • Balled and Burlapped (B&B) Trees:

Dug up with an intact root ball, these trees are perfect for replanting after the festive season comes to an end. They have a higher chance of survival due to the preservation of the tree’s root system.

  • Potted Christmas Trees:

Sold with roots in soil, this gives an easy transition from indoor Christmas ornament to outdoor plant. It gives you great flexibility in choosing where to plant your tree in the garden.

  • Best Species for Replanting:

Norway spruce, Fraser fir, and white pine are popular choices known for their adaptability to replanting. These species typically have robust root systems, meaning they are more likely to succeed when they’re replanted.

Preparing for Planting Your Christmas Tree

Choosing the Right Location for Your Live Christmas Tree

Selecting the perfect place for your Christmas tree in the garden is essential for its long-term health and for it to look great. Make sure your chosen spot provides enough space for the tree to reach its mature size without getting cramped or taking over other plants. Consider things like sunlight exposure, as most Christmas trees thrive in full to partial sunlight, and be mindful of potential obstacles that could hamper its growth. It’s also best to account for soil drainage to stop it getting waterlogged, which can be detrimental to the tree’s roots.

Soil Preparation and Ideal Planting Conditions

Before planting your Christmas tree, it’s best to do a soil test to find out the pH and nutrient levels. You can then use fertilisers to adjust the soil to create perfect conditions for your tree to grow. Well-draining soil is crucial to prevent the tree getting waterlogged and adding some compost improves the soil fertility too. Plant your tree at the right depth, making sure the top of the root ball or the soil level of a potted tree is in line with the ground. Water the tree thoroughly after planting it and add a layer of mulch to keep in moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Proper Pot or Container for Non-Ground Planting

If your Christmas tree will be potted or in a container rather than planted directly in the ground, it’s essential to choose a pot or container that allows for proper root development. Select a container with good drainage holes to stop waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix and make sure the container is large enough to accommodate the tree’s roots as it grows. Regularly check the moisture levels and water your tree as needed. Also consider rotating your tree periodically, so it grows evenly on all sides as it’s exposed to the sun. 

Caring for Your Christmas Tree Before and After Planting

Caring for your Christmas tree before planting is crucial to make sure it successfully transitions to the garden. If you’ve got a B&B or a potted tree, it’s important to keep it in a cool, sheltered place, away from direct sunlight and wind, to prevent it drying out before it’s planted. Make it a priority to regularly water the tree, as its roots can still absorb moisture during this pre-planting phase. If the tree is in a pot, make sure it has proper drainage to avoid waterlogged roots. Protect the tree from extreme temperature fluctuations and let it acclimatise gradually to outdoor conditions by placing it in a sheltered outdoor spot a week or two before planting. This pre-planting care establishes a strong foundation for the tree’s health and vitality in its new garden home.

After planting your Christmas tree, it’ll need some love and care to keep it in the best condition. Be consistent with watering it, especially during dry spells to make sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.  Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to retain the moisture, regulate soil temperature and reduce weed growth. Regularly inspect the tree for signs of pests or diseases, so you can deal with them quickly before they take hold. Consider using natural remedies or environmentally friendly pesticides if needed. Following all of these tips will keep your Christmas tree happy and healthy for many years to come. 

Long-Term Maintenance and Growth

Keep your tree growing healthily with regular pruning to shape the tree and remove any dead or diseased branches. Start pruning in the early years to encourage a well-defined structure. Make sure to apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in the spring to give it essential nutrients for growth. Mulching around the base of the tree helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds. 

Consider the potential size of the species you’ve planted and plan for its growth over the years. Norway spruce, Fraser fir and white pine can reach fair heights. Try to prune selectively to manage the tree’s size and shape, stop overcrowding and maintain a good look. If space allows, let the tree grow naturally, but if you have size constraints, pruning is best.

Benefits and Considerations

Environmental Benefits of Planting a Christmas Tree

  • Carbon Sequestration: Planted Christmas trees contribute to decarbonisation, helping mitigate the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide
  • Creating Wildlife Habitats: The trees provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife, enhancing biodiversity in your garden
  • Oxygen Production: Growing trees continuously produce oxygen, promoting cleaner air and supporting respiratory health
  • Preventing Soil Erosion: The root systems of Christmas trees help anchor soil, reducing the risk of erosion and promoting soil health

Considerations for Planting

Space Requirements: Ensure the garden has sufficient space for the tree’s potential size, considering both height and width.

Local Climate Conditions: Select tree species that are well-adapted to the local climate, considering factors like temperature, humidity, and soil type.

Soil Preparation: Adequate soil preparation, including testing and amending soil conditions, is crucial for the tree’s successful growth.

Watering and Maintenance: Regular watering and maintenance practices, such as pruning and pest control, are essential for the tree’s health.

Alternatives for Limited Space

  • Potted Trees: Opt for potted Christmas trees that can be brought indoors for the festive season and then placed back outdoors
  • Community Tree Planting: Participate in local tree planting or community programs to contribute to reforestation efforts without the need for your own garden space
  • Rent-a-Tree Programs: Explore rent-a-tree programs where you can enjoy a potted tree during the holidays and then return it for replanting

Start Your Own Sustainable Christmas Tree Tradition

This Christmas, consider the joy and sustainability of planting your own Christmas tree. Beyond the festive decorations, nurturing a living tree in your garden is a rewarding job that connects you to the beauty of nature. It’s a small, impactful step towards reducing your environmental footprint and fostering a sense of eco-conscious festive fun. Embrace the tradition of planting, watch your tree flourish over the years, and create lasting memories grounded in the spirit of a sustainable Christmas.

At Hassett, let us help you choose the best Christmas tree for you, that you can then plant and enjoy for many years to come.