The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Question: I received a dwarf alberta spruce for Christmas. How do I care for it until it can be planted outddoors and when can it be planted outdoors?

Answer: These trees need to be kept cool and planted as soon as possible. If it has been indoors less than a week, you can set it in a sheltered location such as an unheated garage (it should be very cool but above freezing so the soil does not freeze solid)and then plant it as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, meaning not frozen and not too muddy. In the meantime, water as needed to keep the soil slightly damp, not saturated and not bone dry. If it has been indoors longer than a week, it's natural seasonal cycle will have been disrupted and it would not tolerate extreme cold. You would need to keep it in a very bright location that is cool, say 45 to 55 degrees, and plant it outside when the weather has settled and frost is no longer expected. Water as needed to keep the soil damp. Sometimes these holiday decorative trees do not do well in the long term due to the abrupt environmental changes -- and consequently shock -- they go through. Please do not feel bad if it does not thrive for you.

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