Create a lasting memento this holiday by replanting your tree
Select a living Christmas tree as you’d choose plants for your garden―go with what you love, and have room for.
You can use the same tree in a container for four to seven years, depending on how fast it grows. If you intend to plant it outdoors eventually, choose a variety that thrives in your climate. And be sure that you have a sunny spot for it.
Look for landscape-grade trees (not sheared), in 5-, 7-, and 15-gallon cans.
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Native. Soft dark green or blue-green needles. Easy to grow and shape by shearing. P.M. glauca is a hardy form in the Rockies.
Both are handsome and fragrant Christmas trees.
To 70 feet tall. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-24.
Norway spruce (Picea abies) This big landscape tree grows 18 inches per year. Not as prickly as most spruces.
Can hit 150" in height. Sunset zones A2, A3, 1-6, 14-17
White fir (Abies concolor). Symetrical tree with bluish green needles. Grows to 30 feet tall when planted in the ground. S.c.’Candicans’ has bright
silvery blue needles.
A good container plant. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-24.
Colorado spruce (Picea pungens). ‘Glauca is the standard Colorado blue spruce, but ‘Hoopsii’ is even bluer. It its best in colder areas; a poor choice in
Puget Sound region where lack of winter cold leads to severe aphid infestations.
Grows 30 to 60 feet tall in gardens. Zones A2, 3, 1-10, 14-17.
Austrian black pine (Pinus nigra). A dense conical tree with a uniform crown and stiff, very dark green needles.
Grows slowly to 40 to 60 feet tall. Mature trees develop flat tops. Zones A3, 2-10, 14-21.
Alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa). Native. Slow-growing tree with bluish green needles; 60 to 90 feet tall.
Dwarf blue subalpine fir grows to just 3 to 4 feet tall in 10 years, ultimately reaching 6 to8 feet tall. Zones 1-9, 14-17.
Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Dense gray-green foliage; red bark. Better able to tolerate colder, drier climates than coast redwood.
Potentially a huge tree, to 80 feet or more. All zones.
Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara). Nodding branches bear green needles with a bluish gray, or golden yellow cast. Floppy top makes it hard to mount a star
atop the tree.
A good garden tree if you have room. To 80 feet tall. Zones 2-12, 14-24.
Indoors Display the tree indoors for no longer than 10 days. Set the pot on a plastic saucer fitted with wheels (available at nurseries).
Keep it away from heat and decorate it sparingly using light strings with small, cool bubs. Water regularly. One easy way
to do that: dump two trays of ice cubes onto the soil’s surface. As the ice melts, the water trickles slowly through the root
After Christmas Move the tree outdoors to a cool bright porch for a few days to ease the transition, then move it to a protected spot outdoors where the rootball won't freeze. Water when the top two inches of soil feels dry to touch. When new growth starts in spring, feed it with controlled release fertilizer. Then plant it in the garden, or transplant into a larger, light-colored terra cotta or wood container (black plastic pots can overheat, injuring or killing roots).
Support a Forest Global ReLeaf, a tree planting program sponsored by American Forests, has planted more than a million conifer seedlings this
past year in 14 reforestation projects around the West, including in areas ravaged by wildfires. For every $1 donation, American
Forests (americanforests.org) plants a tree.
Send a seedling Give a gift tree that’ll keep on giving, and growing, at Mom and Dad’s place or in a friend’s yard. Seedlings of Colorado spruce, deodar cedar, or giant sequoia (about $25 each) are available from NewGrowth, Inc., an Oregon Nursery. Plants are 1 to 2 feet tall, 2 to 3 years old; they’re gift wrapped using recyclable containers and ribbons. newgrowth.com or 800/605-7457.