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Can you replant your Christmas tree?


With the environment at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it can feel wasteful to buy a living Christmas tree every season only to watch it die and end up out on the street for the first bin collection in early January.

So, is there anything different you could do with your Christmas tree once the festive season is over?

Can you replant your Christmas tree?

The most obvious solution to the Christmas tree conundrum is to simply replant your tree after you’re done with it in the house.  But is that possible?  In short, it depends!

It all comes down to the type of tree you bought.

If you bought a Christmas tree with roots

If you have sagely invested in a tree with a rootball, it will most likely be planted in a pot. This gives you two options after Christmas – to either keep it in the pot and move it outside, or to plant the tree in your garden.

If you want to bring the tree indoors again next year, it will be easiest to keep it in the pot.

In this case, make sure you keep it healthy whilst it is in your home by ensuring it is well watered and displayed in a cool room away from radiators and draughts.

Ideally don’t keep a living tree inside for more than 12 days but the moment it starts to look sad and droopy, put it back outside.

Christmas tree covered in snow

Maintaining a Christmas tree year-round

Once outside in its container, the tree will need to be moved to a bigger pot on an annual basis using good compost – during spring is best, but at any time of year is also fine.

The maximum sized pot that can be comfortably moved is around 45 cm/18 inches, so this is as big as you can go if you want to get your tree back inside.

Christmas trees in pots will not grow as large as those planted in the ground, because the pot will constrain their size.

They may also only live for a few years as they are not naturally suited to pot life. During this time though the tree will be hardy and prefer a sheltered position in full sun.

It will need regular watering as trees in containers dry out more quickly than those in the ground, and keep it pruned.

Replanting a Christmas tree

Replanting a Christmas tree is possible and quite straightforward.

The only caveat is that the longer your tree has spent inside, the less likely it is to re-establish.

The tree will need to be in its natural ‘dormant’ state for best chance of re-establishing, so take it outside to a cold, sheltered area for a week or two before planting.

To plant, you simply need to dig a hole in an appropriate spot, around two to three times larger than the rootball of the tree, add in some Tree Soil Improver for boosted health and vitality, plant the tree and back fill gently.

For more detailed instructions, check out our guide to planting trees.  Be warned though, depending on the specific fir or spruce, they can live for many years and grow very large. And by large we mean heights of about 15-20m (50-65ft) in 20 years, and potentially up to 40m (130ft).

This could be quite a statement in a large garden, but if you have a small back garden keeping it in a pot might be a better option.

Decorated Christmas tree

If you bought a cut Christmas tree

If you’ve bought a cut tree, you can’t replant it.

You might have read some obscure blogs or even seen some suspect videos on YouTube where they suggest rubbing honey, or Bonsai root hormone, on the cut stump and imply this will result in the magical regrowth of the tree’s roots.  But trust us, it won’t work.

You’re just wasting your time, effort and money following these dubious guides.

But don’t worry, there are some very environmentally sound options for reusing or recycling your Christmas tree.

Most local councils do a kerb side collection for trees under a certain size (usually 5ft or 1.5m), in the first few weeks in January, so contact them to get your specific date.

Many councils also have Christmas tree drop off points, details of which will be on their website.

Your local authority will use all the real trees it collects to create much needed chippings and mulch for local parks and woodlands.

You can do something similar in your own garden too. You could shred your old Christmas tree for woodchips, make mulch from the needles, use bare branches as a frame for climbers or stack cut branches to make a wildlife shelter.

If you bought an artificial tree

All you can do with an artificial tree is store if carefully so that it can be reused and reused for many Christmases to come. Ideally, you’d save on waste by using it every year from now on!

To sum up

What you do with your Christmas tree after the Yuletide all comes down to the tree you chose.  Our preference is to buy Christmas trees with roots because it’s just an excuse for us to plant a few more trees every year!

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