How can I make a tree last through the winter?


We bought a live tree and want to plant it next spring. How do we make it survive winter? Should we bring it in the house or leave it in the garage?

  7 answers
  • Oliva Oliva on Dec 19, 2018

    What type of tree? How old is the tree and what is diameter of main trunk?

    In zone 6 and lower, if tree isn't an evergreen, or it's less than 4 years old, I'd probable place it in a pot, mulched, in your garage. At 4 years, tree could withstand being planted in ground if mulched, with a steel mesh 4' high to protect from rabbits and rodents. You could cover the top with polar fleece, pinned in place to protect from winds.

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Dec 19, 2018

    If the tree you bought has a root ball, you have a good chance of keeping it alive during the winter. It may have a croaker sack or a burlap bag around the root ball. Place the tree and bag in a galvanized washtub or a big flower pot and water it once or twice total until you are ready to plant. In zone 8 and higher, plant now, or closer to the middle of Jan. In zone 6-7, plant around Feb. 1. In colder zones, wait until the ground is no longer frozen. You don’t say what type of tree you bought, but the garage should be plenty of shelter until you get ready to plant. Consider taking pictures now and through the planting process. Many people would like to see this on Best wishes! ☺️

  • Mindshift Mindshift on Dec 19, 2018

    A Christmas tree is most often a hardy evergreen fir, spruce or pine. They need light, so you can't just stick them in a dark garage to wait out the winter. A bright but cool enclosed porch would be great. Or, set the plant on a porch that gets lots of sun any day you can, but don't leave them out during a freeze. The top won't be bothered, but the roots are unprotected from the cold in a standard plastic pot. Your tree may have been dug out of the field just before the season, so don't let the roots dry out. Most Christmas tree species prefer a cool climate, and do not do well in hot southern summers.

    If, however, your tree is a Norfolk Island pine, it is not at all winter hardy. It will start to suffer cold damage below 40ºF. These trees are native to the South Pacific between New Caledonia and New Zealand. They prefer temperatures between 55 and 75º, high humidity and well drained, acid soil. They can be grown as houseplants if you have a bright window. Re-pot them every 3 years into a slightly larger pot using a peat based potting soil. They may eventually get 8 ft tall, though they grow to 200 ft in their native habitat.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Dec 19, 2018

    What kind of tree,where do you live(temps.),what is the tree in(container etc.)?? Need some of this info. to help you otherwise we are all just guessing

  • Heide Heide on Dec 20, 2018

    Winter is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. However if the ground is too hard, place the root ball into a large container of water (we used a wheel barrow) and leave it in the garage until Fed or Mar - Spring thaw.

  • Lynn Lynn on Dec 20, 2018

    Thank you all for your suggestions and solutions 🤗. I will show them to my husband and between us we will figure out what to do from your ideas. Thanks again for responding so quickly!!

  • Pam Walker Pam Walker on Dec 20, 2018

    IF it's small enough to bring into the house, then I would. Get a storage tub the size of the diameter of the tree (or plastic trash can). Put some Miracle Grow Potting Mix into it. Don't drill drainage holes because you won't need them. Plant your tree about 5 inches from the bottom branch. Water it with only 2 cups of water near the trunk. The soil will soak the water up & only water it again when the soil feels bone dry. Replant (soil & all) in the Spring when you feel ready. That tub makes a great starter bed when starting small plants for replanting the following Spring too. You could also use it for seed starters with a grow lamp.

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