How to save a Christmas tree for the garden?
Luxurious New Year trees, pleasing with their elegant look and unique aroma - an invariable part of your favorite winter holidays. And if earlier the choice was limited only by two options - cut down spruce or pine or their artificial replacement, today there are much more options. Live conifers can even be rented. More and more popular is the purchase of plants with a closed root system. If you buy a plant in a container, you will receive not only a fragrant and living decoration of your festive interior, but also a chance to replenish your collection of coniferous plants in the garden. Preserving the beauty until spring will not be so simple: leaving has its own nuances, but the chance to save the plant that brought so many joys for decades is worth it.
A living miracle for a festive interior
The replenishment of the assortment of New Year's tree plants in containers, or rather, the expansion of variations in the sale of conifers in tubs also using favorite holidays as the main tree, allows us not to condemn to death an innumerable amount of cut spruce, fir, pine and other representatives of conifers.
Christmas trees in tubs even allow fans of eco-design and nature lovers not to refuse a symbol so beloved from childhood and are an excellent option combining everything that we love in holiday trees with a rational approach to nature conservation. For gardeners, such conifers are also an excellent option for replenishing the collection. And such trees in tubs and containers are increasingly chosen.
Of course, the price of live conifers with a preserved root system is higher than that of simple cut New Year trees. But since they are acquired with subsequent planting in the soil, such a choice always pays off.
True, the possibilities for the subsequent use of New Year's conifers in the garden have their own important nuance: to combine a full decoration of the festive interior and future decoration of the garden is possible only relatively. Something - the vitality or length of stay in the spotlight, the beauty and elegance of decoration - will have to be sacrificed. And the balance that allows you to decorate the house with living conifers, and to preserve it for the garden, is by no means easy to find.
Rules for selecting New Year trees
The choice of coniferous plants in pots is no less than the assortment of cut trees. Ordinary and blue spruce, different types of fir, pine, larch - there are plenty to choose from. The rules for selecting New Year trees that you plan to plant in the garden are subject to one criterion: you need to check the frost resistance of each individual species. So, most firs with the most beautiful needles winter poorly in the middle lane and die in the first winter even if they have taken root.
If you want to keep conifers, choose species that are familiar and familiar to you. Preferred: ordinary, European, prickly, bluish, white, Canadian spruce; cedar pines, graceful and Siberian fir, thuja or junipers. They are more suitable for climates with harsh winters.
Choosing a New Year tree, which is planned to be planted in the garden in the future, you will have to show much more zeal and attention. After all, just a choice in attractiveness and price - insufficient measures to buy a viable plant. There are rules for buying such New Year trees:
1. It is advisable to buy plants not in shopping centers or Christmas tree markets, but in nurseries and garden centers. The thing is that no one at points of sale unrelated to gardening can guarantee you that conifers were not transported with an open root system to save space and were not planted in tubs and containers literally on the eve of the sale. That is, in fact, there is always a risk to buy a plant that is only disguised as a container, and transported together with cut down spruce trees (or even cut down trees are planted in sand and earth to prolong beauty).
A reliable supplier is the main guarantee that you will get a healthy and strong plant, keep it with proper care until spring and can transplant it into your own garden. Buying in nurseries and garden centers is best done not before the holidays, but in advance, when there is more choice (and some garden centers are closed for the winter).
Purchased spruce trees before being transported to the house can be dug in the garden by digging them immediately before the holidays. And one more important nuance: buy conifers not on the street, such plants can not tolerate negative temperatures and after frostbite they will not recover with any care.
2. The age of your New Year tree is of great importance for its survival. The younger the plant in question, the easier it will be for him to adapt in a new place, the faster it will take root in your garden. But youth for conifers means one thing - small size. And here you need to adhere to a reasonable balance: limit the minimum permissible height of the New Year tree and immediately sift out plants that are not suitable for you, and choose the youngest from the remaining ones.
3. Aesthetics when choosing a New Year tree is very important. You can safely choose the sizes, the nature of branching and even the color to your liking. But the health and condition of the New Year tree can be checked for obvious signs. Start with the density of the crown: specially thickened fir trees and firs for rooting are not the best option. There should be no cracks, breaks, or delaminations on the crust.
Look close at the kidneys (they should be tight, slightly “pick” one, checking if it is green inside) and the ends of the needles: they should be flexible, fresh, not dried. Check the elasticity and flexibility of the branches (they should bend, not be dried), noting how fragrance is felt when touching the branches. But be very careful: even dead plants or simply cut unviable spruce trees that have just been planted in a pot can maintain a “marketable” appearance and attractiveness.
4. Do not be ashamed to check the root system, the quality of "fixation" in the soil. Your conscientious and thorough examination should not only concern appearance. The main attention should be paid just to the underground part. The container with the candidate for the role of the New Year tree needs to be tilted and even turned over, checking how dense the earthen lump is and whether the plant was simply planted in the ground before sale.
If the soil gets enough sleep, and the tree literally “flies out” - it is better to refuse to buy. The tree should be removed from the container only with gentle shaking, and it should have a high-quality, dense, penetrated by the roots earthen lump. The substrate should not crumble during any movement.
When buying, be sure to find out all the information about the plant - the name of the species, variety, features of cultivation and care. Find out what kind of lighting the plant is used to, what kind of soil is “native” to it, whether it needs watering, what frequency should it be, and whether it will have to take some special measures to prepare for winter (do not forget about the tendency to needles to burn out )
Staying in the interior during the holidays will do much harm to the coniferous plant, and it is better if it gets into the garden as close as possible to the previous cultivation conditions. So the plant adapts faster and increases the likelihood of success.
Care you can’t do without
It will be possible to save the New Year tree only if it receives thorough care and is in optimal conditions. Without care, no plant can survive until spring, and then take root in the garden. But at the same time, container conifers do not need any special measures. Their cultivation is much like caring for ordinary indoor plants.
The most difficult is the period of the holidays themselves, when the tree is hung with toys and decor. In the festive decoration of a New Year tree with a live root system, do not overdo it: use a minimum of toys and try to choose the lightest decor. During the holidays, care for the spruce or pine should not be stopped, which means that the crown of the plant will have to be sprayed.
Such procedures, however, like watering, are absolutely incompatible with placing electric garlands and other lights on the tree, which are appropriate on ordinary and artificial trees. The only available option is special garlands for outdoor conditions that are resistant to moisture. Decorating your Christmas tree, make sure that the branches and even the needles do not suffer from hanging toys, be very careful. And try to remove any jewelry as early as possible.
From the moment you bring the plant to the house and before transporting it to the garden, care for it should be unchanged. It consists of such components:
1. The right choice of temperature
Conifers in a container need coolness. Optimum for such plants is a temperature range of 12-15 degrees. If you can’t use the plant as a New Year’s one in a cool room or it is impossible, and on holidays you have to set it in warmer conditions, then try to minimize the harm.
Expose and decorate the Christmas tree literally at the last moment and transfer it to cool as soon as you can. The smaller the plant will be in hot conditions, the better. The maximum stay in the warmth is 1 week. If your New Year tree shows signs of awakening, growth, then it needs to be moved to the most cold, frost-free place with a temperature of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius.
2. Normal watering
The strategy of watering the New Year's conifers preserved by spring is no different from the watering of ordinary indoor plants. Using settled, soft water, maintain light substrate moisture, constant, stable conditions. Neither the complete drying of the earthen coma, nor its overmoistening, will benefit plants. Focus on drying the top of the soil.
The higher the air humidity, the less the plant will suffer during the home growing period. Installing humidifiers for conifers is not an option, although if you have appliances in your room or measures are taken to moisten the air for other indoor plants, this will only be beneficial for the New Year tree. The best way is to spray the crown, which literally revives the needles and keeps it in optimal condition.
Plant transplant in the garden
The best time for transplanting a New Year tree into the garden is early spring. It is advisable to carry out this procedure as soon as possible: as soon as the snow melts and the soil completely thaws.
The place to plant your saved New Year tree does not have to be prepared in advance. Conifers are one of those arboreal trees for which planting pits can be laid both in the fall and shortly before the immediate planting. The place must be selected in accordance with the size of the plant, its requirements for lighting and soil, other features of a particular species and variety. But here the improvement of the soil during planting is a mandatory step for all, without exception, New Year trees.
The dimensions of the planting pits for any coniferous plant are very easy to “calculate”: they should be twice the volume of the rhizome.
In addition to the soil removed from the landing pit, you can focus on specific recommendations for plant species. But there is a much simpler strategy: mix the soil with a special balanced composition coniferous substrate and sand in equal proportions. For some conifers, it is recommended that the lower soil pass is made from a clean mixture of sand and coniferous soil, and the rest of the space is filled with earth mixture.
Mineral fertilizers are usually added only for plants older than 4 years, but in the case of weakened New Year trees, they are required to be introduced in the amount of a standard portion (55-60 g per planting hole), choosing either special mixes for conifers or full mineral fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers are also desirable. If you want to prepare new soil and not use garden soil, stock up on leafy, soddy soil, compost, humus, peat and sand and follow the optimal soil mixtures for a particular type of coniferous plant.
The landing procedure itself is not so complicated:
- Be sure to lay drainage at the bottom of the landing pit. For conifers, it is standard - 10-15 cm tall. Any materials available to you are suitable.
- A thin layer of prepared soil mixture is poured on top of the drainage.
- The tree transported to the site is abundantly watered several hours before planting.
- Removing the plant from the container, the earthen lump is preserved completely, handling the tree along with the entire substrate.
- The plant is set so that the level of deepening of the root neck does not change, it remains the same.
- The prepared soil is filled in the free space in the planting pit, the soil is tamped.
- Spend abundant watering. If desired, growth stimulants or other drugs that accelerate rooting are added to the water, but it is better to add such an additive not with the first, but with the second or third watering.
- Immediately mulch the trunk circle - peat, pine needles, crushed bark.
- Shade the crown from the spring sun with kraft paper or other materials
If you want to decorate the garden with container conifers and continue to grow your New Year tree as portable, then provide it with thorough care and do not transplant in the first year, but simply take it to the garden as soon as the temperature rises to 10-12 degrees.
With the onset of cold weather, along with other tubing plants, it will be necessary to take the plant away for the winter to a cold, but not freezing room or dig it in the soil, providing a thick layer of hilling from above. The second time you should not use such a plant as a New Year.
New Year tree care in the first year after planting:
- protect the plant from drought by providing watering during periods when natural precipitation is insufficient (plentiful, deep but rare watering is preferred);
- if possible, spray the crown in the summer (early morning or evening);
- refuse feeding in the first year after planting;
- mulch the soil in the near-stem circle and constantly maintain a layer of mulch 4-5 cm high;
- remove weeds and loosen the soil;
- in the fall, on the eve of cold weather, renew the mulch;
- protect plants for the winter by hilling the base of the bushes, creating a thick layer of mulch from dry leaves (if more serious protection is needed, follow the recommendations for a particular plant);
- tie the crown to prevent breaking branches under the weight of snow and do not forget to wrap to avoid sunburn.