Make sure to follow these guidelines if you plan on having a real Christmas tree this festive season
- When you buy a small indigenous tree, it will either come in a pot or a black plastic bag. When you get it home, give it a good watering and allow the water to drain before placing it in your chosen container. If it’s going to be outdoors on a patio for the festive season, use a container with drainage holes in the bottom. If you’re placing the tree inside the house, look for a pot or container without drainage holes and fill the bottom third with gravel so that the tree roots don’t stand in water. Alternatively, use a drip tray.
- As containers dry out quickly especially in hot windy weather, water the tree regularly but take care not to overwater.
- Mulch the surface of the soil to prevent moisture loss.
- Spray the leaves with water occasionally to remove any dust.
- Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide as the container the tree came in. Fill the hole with water and leave it to drain so the soil is moist.
- Mix the soil from the hole with an amount of compost equal to the tree’s bag size.
- Carefully remove the tree from the container, keeping the soil around the roots intact. Place it in the middle of the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is slightly lower than the level of the surrounding soil.
- Fill in the space around the tree with the soil/compost mixture, tamping it down firmly to eliminate air pockets.
- Create a water-holding basin around the base of the trunk, fill it with water and allow it to drain off. Then mulch the top of the soil, leaving a space around the trunk, to retain moisture. Keep the soil moist and give the tree a good soaking once a week (depending on the rainfall) until it’s established.