Oh Christmas Tree!

Blog Category: Holiday Lights & Décor
December 7, 2015 by Holly Skoog, Former General Manager

For many, the holiday season truly kicks off when the tree is set and decorated with treasured ornaments and twinkling lights. A warm winter glow fills your home, and holiday cheer begins to creep in. The tradition of decking the halls with a live tree dates back to 16th Century Germany when Christians started to bring decorated trees into their homes. By the 1890s, ornaments were gaining popularity, and by early 20th Century, Christmas trees had become an American tradition.

Fresh Christmas trees continue to be a very popular option today, despite all the artificial options on the market. Fresh trees can be cut and set up indoors using plant stands, or they can remain potted and brought indoors to enjoy for the season before being planted outdoors. Read on to learn more about each option.


Fresh Cut

Blog Post #93 - Cut Tree

If you choose to go with a fresh cut tree, make sure to follow these steps for a healthy tree that is sure to last through the holiday season.Fresh cut Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states around the U.S. For every tree cut, two to three seedlings are planted in its place. With approximately 100 tree farms around Iowa, there are many places to choose from.

    1. Clean the tree of loose needles.
    2. Care for it like cut flowers.
    3. Make a fresh cut on the stem, about an inch from the bottom, to open it up for water intake.
    4. Water with hot water the first time to clear any resin that may be clogging the water intake tissues.
    5. Don’t let the water line drop below the cut line.


With nine varieties that grow well in Iowa, there is sure to be a style and shape that suits your preferences. To find a farm near you, head to the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association page.


Living Trees


Blog Post #93 - Living Tree

For living trees that will be planted outside, there are a few more steps involved, but it’s worth the reward!

First things first:

  1. You’ll need to select the planting spot and dig a hole.
  2. Then, fill with straw and store the soil elsewhere for when you plant the tree.
  3. Keep the tree in a protected transitional location, such as in an unheated garage, until ready to bring the tree indoors. Don’t forget to keep it hydrated. You’ll need to keep the root ball moist but not soggy.
  4. The potted tree should remain indoors for no more than five to seven days. Warm, dry household conditions will stress the tree, and can interrupt its dormancy, so choose a cool location away from heat vents.
  5. While the tree is inside, make sure to water it to keep it hydrated. You should water just until you see water seeping out the bottom of the pot and into the plant saucer. Over-watering can harm the tree, so be careful with the amount you administer.
  6. After the holidays and when you’re ready to return to “normal”, move your potted tree back to its transitional location in the garage for a few days before planting.
  7. When you’re ready to plant, remove the tree from its pot or loosen (but don’t remove) the burlap bag. Remove any plastic wraps or liners.
  8. Gently set the tree in its pre-dug hole. If it’s a ball and burlap tree, fold back the top of the burlap to the bottom of the root ball.
  9. Fill the hole with a portion of the dirt that you removed, and use the remaining soil to shape a small mound around the edge of the hole.
  10. Cover the soil around the tree with up to four inches of mulch, but leave about three inches of space between the mulch and the trunk. Finish by thoroughly watering the tree inside the “moat.”


For both fresh cut and living trees, make sure to take care while decorating and pick ornaments that will not weigh down the branches. For living trees, it is especially important to use small LED lights, which produce less heat and won’t burn the tree’s boughs. If holiday decorating has you stressed out or you just want some helping hands to add extra cheer for the season, give us a call at 515.987.0800 to talk to an expert.  Or, request a quote online here. We love to decorate for the holidays – check out our exterior and interior work.

We wish you a happy holidays and wonderful new year!


Tree Images provided by FreeImages.com/Bob Smith & Streuli Silvan