The most eco-friendly Christmas tree is one that lasts for years. Here’s how to choose, decorate, and care for a living tree
Photography by Thomas J. Story
- Plan ahead. Buy a variety that thrives in your zone. After the holidays, keep it in a container to reuse year after year, plant it in your garden, or donate it to a local park. If you plan to plant, make sure you have space to allow for the tree’s growth.
- Do not disturb. Leave the tree in its nursery container for at least the first Christmas. You don’t want to add transplant shock to the stress of an indoor stay.
- Limit its time inside. Display the tree indoors no longer than 10 days, keeping it away from heater vents, fireplaces, and drafts.
- Water regularly. The easiest method: Place ice cubes atop the soil. As they melt, they slowly release water, which is gradually absorbed by the roots.
- Take it outside. Most trees can live outdoors for several years in large containers. Water regularly, when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. When new growth starts in spring, feed with a granular, controlled-release fertilizer.