A little care helps a living Christmas tree survive

If you buy a living Christmas tree this year, use care if you want it to survive. First, pick out a fresh-looking tree, either tubbed or balled and burlapped, at a reliable nursery. If it isn't tubbed, put it into a wooden, plastic, or metal tub.

Water it moderately well but do not drown it. Next, spray all of the foliage with an anti-drying spray. This will prevent the tree from drying out in the house and afterward. Obviously, keep the tree out of the sun and wind.

Dig a hole before the ground is frozen and make it large enough to accommodate the roots with ease. Fill the hole with leaves or old straw and cover it to hold them in and prevent freezing. At the same time mix a generous amount of dried cow manure into the pile of good soil that you took out in order to enrich it. Then flatten the pile.

Cover the soil with a foot of leaves or old straw so that it will not freeze. Then add a plastic sheet or piece of old canvas to hold them down.

After planting, stake or otherwise tie the tree to keep it steady in the winter wind. Also, mulch the soil at least six inches deep, not only over the root ball but around it as well.

By all means plant the tree if you can. But if the location is exposed to drying winds and sun or you positively cannot plant it after it has served its purpose indoors, store the tree in the best location you can find. Garages are bad. The best spot is a corner out of doors which is protected from the sun and wind.

Soak the ball or tub and heap leaves over it. Plant as soon as possible in the spring.

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