After a long warm break, holiday tree needs slow acclimation to outdoors

We wrote last week:

Bring the tree in for just a few days; a week, tops.


We purchased an Alberta Dwarf Christmas tree to have inside and then plant outside since none of the kids are coming home this year and I need a little Christmas. Our problem is we have had the tree in the house for exactly 1 week already and have been watering it. It sits by a door wall window. We want to plant it outdoors right after New Years but according to your good advice, we should have a hole ready for it and then surround it with soil. What do we need to do to make this tree survive this plan to transplant it after 3-4 weeks of indoor exposure? - M.C. -


Tough question. After 3-4 weeks it may be so "awake" that it'll be budding out, and that's 'way past the stage when it can regain its hardiness. But who knows?! Nature's amazing, and you should enjoy your holiday decor.

So keep the tree as cold as you can and in good light. Then as soon as you're done with it, put it into an unheated garage or a shed, rather than outdoors. Check it every few weeks to put water, snow or ice on the soil surface if it's dry, which you'll know if the pot becomes very light. Plant it in spring.

Or, if you have a hole dug for it outdoors, go ahead and plant it. Then up-end a big plastic garbage can over it, one that's at least a few inches wider and taller than the tree. Set a cinder block or other significant weight on the can so it won't blow off.

DASWrapdColdS.jpg  DASCovrdWarmS.jpg

Plants are not like people. Wrapping alone is useless.
A plant has no way to generate heat. No warm blood. No shivering reflex.

To keep a plant warm, cover it with room to spare.
That traps a pocket of the warm air coming from the ground.
Heat escapes from the Earth all year, rising readily through lose garden soil.


Or pound some stakes in all around the tree, ring those with chicken wire, and fill that with fluffy leaves or pine needles all around and right over the top of the tree.

Either way should trap ground-warmed air around the tree, and could be enough to bring it through. Leave the protection there until mid-April, since end of winter chills can be a hardy plant's biggest hurdle.