Who said it has to be shaped like a triangle and smell piney?

  Every year, I see signs for “Live Christmas Trees”. It drives me batty. It should say “cut Christmas trees”, or how about just “Christmas Trees”. How can a tree, that has had its roots cut off, be “live”? They were alive…months ago. Most Christmas trees are cut from late August to October. Why so early? The trees need to be off the mountain before bad weather sets in…it makes no sense to be driving on logging roads, in a snow storm. They are put into a climate controlled situation until they are shipped on refrigerated truck to market. These  cut trees can’t grow or reproduce, and are not viable (this is what the industry calls cuttings that are to be rooted) so, Christmas trees, are not “live”…in my opinion. 

Lets be honest, RCW is in the business of selling live trees, roots and all. We have a great group of trees and plants that are suitable to be used as Christmas trees, that with proper care and planning, can then be planted in your yard. Why not spend your holiday decorating dollars on something you can get a second use from and let’s call them “Living” Christmas trees. How about a topiary rosemary, holly or a Red Cedar? For something non-traditional, use a deciduous tree and your ornaments will really show. 

Double duty options.

  1. Rosemary is a great choice for apartments or if you want something festive, without a lot of trouble. After the holiday (maybe even for the holiday) snip off bits to season your meals. If you need a great recipe for Rosemary Chicken, let me know…my mom’s is awesome and easy. Rosemary can grow in partial shade to full sun and needs good drainage.
  2. Junipers are a nice choice for your living tree. They are usually cone-shaped or go with a spiral cut for a more modern look. Look for varieties like Spartan and Blue Point, which do really well in the Houston area.
  3. Sapphire Cypress will give a whole new meaning to the phrase “Blue Christmas”. It has a lovely, powdery-blue color. Plant them in the sun and dress them as your outdoor Christmas tree, next year.
  4. Yews are an interesting option (as long as you don’t have dogs). Their needle like foliage comes in 2 colors, green and a blue (called Icee Blue). Plant them in full sun or in partial shade as a dense, view blocking evergreen.
  5. Eastern Red Cedar is a classic living Christmas tree. We have one customer that is lining his yard with them, one Christmas tree a year…now thats a tradition in the making. Tough and native, Red Cedars make a nice, mid-sized(30′ to 40′ feet) and evergreen tree…blocking out the most annoying views and nosey neighbors.
  6. Holly, like Christmas trees and poinsettia, are a classic holiday symbol. Holly can be in a tree form or have branches full to the ground. Most will have red berries during the holidays. The shiny leaves make an interesting choice and can be planted in the sun or partial shade after the holiday.
  7. Bright-n-Tight Cherry Laurel will be great if you have a really narrow area to work with. Plant them in full sun to part shade…as long as you have really good drainage. Maxing out at 8 to 10 feet tall, they make a great screen without eating up the entire yard.

Now for something completely different!

If you want to go non-traditional…

  1. You can buy a deciduous tree, toss some lights on it, hang your ornaments and voilà, a Christmas tree your 2-year-old child can’t reach. 
  2. How about a citrus tree, you have always wanted one and you can be eating off it next holiday season.
  3. There is no reason a big fat Camellia can’t create a buzz among your friends at your annual party. They will think you’re a decorating genius and gardening goddess at the  same time.

By over-lapping your decorating dollars and gardening budget, you can get double duty for your next Christmas tree. Just wait to bring your tree into the house until the week before Christmas, keep it moist (never sitting in water) and then back outside right after the holiday, you can stretch your money this year and get 2 trees for the price of one.