Cut or Potted Christmas Tree? We Have Both.

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It’s a question we often get this time of year at the nursery – should we get a cut tree or a potted tree?

Each has its positives and negatives and most have to do with timing. You can have your cut tree up and in your house longer. On the other hand, even though your potted tree can only be in your house for about a week, it will soon become part of your garden landscape.

No matter what type of tree you get, it will be a little harder and a little more expensive this year. Between wildfires in the northwest, extreme drought, and supply chain and labor issues that have beleaguered most businesses, trees will be more scarce this year than in recent memory.

Warner’s Nursery has been lucky enough to secure both cut and potted trees from our suppliers. Live (potted) Austrian and Colorado Spruces are already available, and we’ll be getting Douglas Fir, Noble Fir and Nordman Fir cut trees shortly before Thanksgiving.

Here are our guides to caring for both this holiday season:

Cut Trees

While you can bring your cut tree inside earlier than a potted tree, there’s often a fear that it will dry out before the holiday arrives. Here’s a few tips that will keep your tree fresh. 

Before you bring your tree indoors, spray it with Cloud Cover to preserve the needles and help them keep their moisture. Make sure you make a fresh cut of at least half an inch off the trunk to allow the tree to take up water. However, remember you need to set up your tree immediately after making the cut (get it in water within 15 minutes at the most!) If you don’t, the cut area will seal off and not be able to take up water.

Once the stand is mounted and your tree is properly situated in its place of glory for the season (far away from heater ducts and/or fireplaces!) fill the water tray with lukewarm water. Add Keeps-it-Green liquid to the water, to help keep the tree fresher longer. Check the water level in your tree stand daily. Always keep the trunk immersed in water. 

Potted Trees

For living trees, proper care is even more important. First, you need to acclimate your tree. We suggest placing the tree outside in partial sunlight (possibly on a porch) for one week prior to taking indoors and remember to water it daily.

The day before you bring it into the house, hose it down with water to remove dust and insects. Again, we suggest also spraying the tree with CloudCover to protect against dehydration.

Once inside, set your tree in a large tray to catch overflow and protect your floors. It should be situated close to a window for light and far away from heating ducts or fireplaces that could sap its moisture.

Continue to water your tree daily, but not quite as deeply as you did when it was outside (you don’t want your living tree to be standing in a tray full of water!) Add a few ice cubes to keep the tree cool and prevent it from breaking dormancy.

As we mentioned earlier, your living Christmas tree can only remain indoors for about seven days; otherwise, it might break dormancy and then will not survive outdoors. After that week, place your tree in a shady spot and out of the wind until you’re ready to plant. We suggest the north or east side of your home, as trees can be wind-burned and are prone to sun scald if left on the south or west side of a house.

Thoroughly water the tree immediately after transferring outdoors, then water once a week. Trees may be planted any time during the winter if the soil is not frozen. It is best to plant the tree as soon as possible. If the tree is to be left in a pot, water every 3-5 days.

Happy gardening and Happy Holidays,