Did you wait too long or did the place ever have nice trees? So, you go to another one and find the same thing there. And again and again… Maybe you should just grow your own tree. I mean, it is too late to do it this year, but if you plan correctly, you can have a nice new tree in a few years if you start with a three or four-year-old juvenile tree. Of course, this is if you just want a tree for yourself that you can let grow in your yard and you can decorate outdoors. If you want a new one every year or if you plan on selling them, you are going to want to start with several trees.
Choosing the Right Tree
You will do best to get a few three or four-year-old juvenile trees from a well-known nursery or garden supply store. You should not just get one and hope it lives. Get at least three or four of them, just to be sure at least one or two will survive. Depending on where you live and what type of tree you want to grow. The most common Christmas trees are Firs and which one you choose really depends on where you live. Balsam and Fraser Firs grow best in zones 4-7, the Douglas Fir prefers zones 4-6, Noble Fir likes zones 4-5, and the Balsam Fir is best for the coldest areas in zones 3-6. Then there are the Pines. The White Pine and Scotch Pine prefer zones 3-8, Virginia Pine likes zones 4-8, and the Sand Pine is great for warmer climates in zones 7-10. You could also get a Spruce if you live in zones 2-7 although the Colorado Blue Spruce is only happy in zones 4-7.
Finding the Best Location
Where you put your trees are as important as what kind of trees to get. Pines are happiest on sough and west slopes and firs and spruces like north and east slopes. And yes, they have to be planted on a slope. Trees do not like their roots to stay wet very long so planting them on a 5% to 20% slope is best for drainage. Then you need to check the soil. Most trees prefer a pH between 6.5 and 6.8 so you need to check your pH levels and adjust them accordingly. You should also make sure that the trees will get full sun where you are going to plant them.
Planting the Trees
You need to keep the seedlings moist until you are ready to plant them and then you should hand plant them using a shovel or auger to dig the hole. If there is any burlap or other covering on the tree, remove it, even if the instructions tell you that you don’t have to. Make sure you keep the roots untangled when planting. Do not twist or turn the tree when planting or they will get tangled and will probably not live long. Spread the roots out carefully and then cover up the hole with soil gently. Then water the tree thoroughly after it is planted. Make sure they are planted at least eight feet apart with seven or eight feet between each tree.
Caring for the Trees
Place mulch such as bark or wood chips at the base of the trees out to the drip line. For the first year, you should water your trees every week. After that, you do not really have to do too much to your trees except water them if it has not rained in a long time. You should also remove any weeds or grass around the trees because it can steal the trees' water and nutrients. You can use organic weed-killing solutions if you prefer. The first year you should remove any of the double tops from the trees and start shearing them. Shear them when the needles are about one inch long for Pines and after buds become visible for Firs and Spruces. Use garden shears or pruners to shear and shape your trees. You should also get rid of any misshapen or damaged branches.
Watch for Diseases and Pests
If you notice that your trees are losing their needles in an excessive amount, they may have a disease or pests. It is normal for trees to lose about 30% of their needles but if they lose more than that or the needles turn yellow, there may be a problem. The most common pests that bug your trees would be the spruce spider, Cinara aphid, or the praying mantis. Your trees will be six to seven feet tall within four years and if you want to cut one down and bring it inside, it is best to do so in the late fall when it is full of moisture and keep the tree wet as soon as you cut it. If you have to wait a while, you will need to recut the tree by slicing off about a half an inch, so it will be able to absorb moisture. If you are just going to decorate the trees outdoors, that is a great idea because you don’t have to cut it down and you will have plenty of trees next year and the year after that. Keep in mind that most trees will reproduce every year, so you may end up with a dozen after a few years even if you only start out with a few. But, you can never have too many trees.