Unfortunately many of the trees showing up in the big box stores about now are dead on arrival--it just takes time for the foliage to show--more than long enough for the store to move it out the door. If you want success, avoid the temptations to buy one just before Christmas--no matter how much they've been marked down--a real indication you should just walk on by.
Great info! This will be my second year attempting to keep my pines alive throughout the year. Last years tree is still living but is down to 1 trunk and definatley looks like Charlie Browns tree! I did purchase 2 more this year about 3 ft tall and they are beautiful - thinking about keeping these on the covered porch this year to see if I'll have more luck. It has definately been a challange for me since moving to Alabama to learn what will grown and what won't - thankfully I've discovered Dave's Garden.
My husband did pick up one last year AFTER Christmas for less than a dollar. I kept it til summer (zone 5) putting it out on the deck. It too looked like a Charlie Brown tree with about 7 trunks. I trimmed off all of the dead and by summer's end, brought in a healthy looking specimen with 5 trunks. It is still going well and I trimmed out 2 more trunks. I've had these before and usually loose them in the winter I believe due to low humidity. After reading this article I am just going to try harder to keep it misted and watered! Thanks for a really great article!