Easy Tips On How To Grow Your Own Christmas Tree

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Take part in the nurturing process that goes into each lush Christmas tree by growing your very own.

Best Types Of Home Grown Christmas Trees

The first step in growing your own Christmas tree is deciding which type of tree to grow. The good news is that you really can't make a bad choice; almost any evergreen species will grow into a beautiful Christmas tree. Depending on your location and taste, one of these trees may be perfect for you:

  • Pine: Characterized by sprays of long, thin needles, pine trees are popular for their decorative cones and branches as well as the inexpensive, rustic wood they produce. Unless they are planted close together, pine trees often grow into charming, irregular shapes rather than the even conical classic Christmas tree silhouette. Because of this, pine trees are just right if you want more of a quirky, offbeat tree.
  • Spruce: Spruce displays sharp, pointed needles, which grow spirally around its rough bark. It grows stiff and even, with a neat conical shape, making spruce a popular choice for traditional Christmas trees. Common varieties include white, blue and Norway spruce.
  • Fir: For an ideal, nostalgic Christmas tree, you can't beat fir. It grows straight, even and beautifully conical with short, blunt, shiny deep green needles that are smooth and fragrant. Fir is the top Christmas tree choice in the northeastern U.S., where it grows abundantly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to grow in other regions and is not widely used outside the northeast.

How Long Does it Take?

Growing Christmas trees is a long-term project. The trees you plant now, won't be ready for this Christmas or the one after that. Here is a basic timeframe for evergreen growth to help you plan ahead:

  • In two or three years, your little sapling will be big enough to use as a potted, table Christmas tree.
  • In about 5 years, it should reach the standard five-foot size many people prefer.
  • If you're looking for the dramatic effect of a taller Christmas tree, allow a year for each additional foot of growth.

Since you have to wait a few years before you can harvest a Christmas tree, growing multiple trees simultaneously really lets you make the most of your time. With proper planning, you can have your own fresh, homegrown tree every year.

Ready for Planting Finished Product

Planting And Growing Your Christmas Tree

As long as you have enough land for sizable shrubs, you've got enough space to grow a Christmas tree. To give your tree or trees the best chance for strength and health, follow these easy steps:

  • Clear the land: Before putting seedlings in the ground, give your sapling some breathing room. Get rid of stumps, logs and anything else that would impede your new tree's growth.
  • Start your seedlings: Purchase and plant your seedlings some time between February and May. If you wait until summer, your young, vulnerable tree might dry out or get overheated.
  • Keep away pests: Control disease and insects with properly used pesticides and fungicides.
  • Keep things clear: Weed and mow the area around your tree regularly, as weeds can easily choke off and kill immature evergreens.

Once your tree begins to grow, you may want to begin shearing it to help it develop the shape you desire. If your tree seems to be growing more fully on one side than the other, check for and clear away any surrounding growth you may have missed that is blocking its sunlight. Additionally, check periodically to make sure you haven't planted your seedlings so closely that they crowd one another out. If this happens, you'll have to move or remove some saplings to insure that you end up with strong and healthy adult trees.

A Safe And Beautiful Tree

Live Christmas trees are unmatched in their beauty and aroma; however, they can become a fire risk without certain safety measures. For only safe and happy memories with your homegrown Christmas tree:

  • Don't chop it down before you have to. A live Christmas tree should only be kept for two weeks at most, so wait as long as you can to harvest it and have a little time after Christmas to continue enjoying it.
  • Keep your tree away from heating vents, fireplaces and other heat sources. And of course, never smoke near your Christmas tree.
  • Keep your tree moist by always having the tree stand filled with water.
  • Inspect holiday lights every year and replace any that have become damaged.
  • Be sure to never link more than three light strands electrically, and never leave a lit tree unattended.
  • Take down and properly dispose of your tree as soon as it begins to dry out, even if two weeks has not yet passed.

Live Options

If you or your kids get too attached to your tree to cut it down, you still have options. Your family may enjoy:

  • Bringing a medium-sized tree indoors in a large pot just for Christmas and then replanting it
  • Decorating your living tree outdoors
  • Growing a new sapling each year to bring in as a tiny tabletop Christmas tree before replanting.

The sights, scents and textures of growing your own Christmas tree bring an opportunity to share old-fashioned Christmas joy with your family.

Last Updated: December 20, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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