The Q&A Archives: Choosing A Christmas Tree

Question: My husband and I usually buy a live, balled, Douglas Fir Christmas tree and plant it after Christmas or in the spring.
In the past six years only one has lived. We have tested the soils' ph level and followed the nursery's directions on how and when to plant them.

This year we are thinking of buying a Norway Spruce. Is any one pine tree easier to grow then another?
We live in the northern part of New Jersey. Any help you could us would be appreciated.

Answer: Although different trees are better suited to different growing conditions, in general I believe the failure with Christmas trees is high for a different set of reasons. The trees are dug and/or held under less than ideal conditions outside and are then stressed by being brought indoors and "warmed up" even if it is only for a few days. They often dry out during the fall and winter handling as well. I'm sorry if this sounds Scroogish, but if you truly wish to plant evergreen trees, I think you would do better to wait until spring to purchase a freshly stocked tree and plant it then. This is horticulturally preferable and should give you a much better success rate. In addition, proper planting, watering and care are also critical to a tree's survival.

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