thinking about a real live xmas tree

Last night I was walking by the Xmas tree stand on the corner — a sure sign that the season has hit NYC — when I had a revelation. Maybe we should get a LIVE xmas tree this year? This vendor was selling them for about $40, which seems reasonable, though I bet we’ll do better upstate. My thinking is that a small tree in a pot will be less likely to tumble down when Isadora yanks at it – which I’m sure she will. I also love the idea of planting it after the holidays, and being able to say, see that tree, that’s your first Christmas tree. Then, I spotted this story in Time magazine, and realized that it is actually a trend. A green trend! Have any of you planted your tree after the holiday season has ended? Would love to hear your experiences with live trees! — Angela M.

From our partners

One thing to consider, that I failed to, is how much heavier a live tree is. I got a four-footer one year and nearly threw out my back trying to get it up the stairs of my apartment. That root ball weighs way more than you think.

(Also, I forgot to water it for a week and turned it brown, thus negating the whole “green” aspects of a live tree. But we don’t talk about that.)


Try to buy a non-invasive tree if you plan on planting it somewhere after the holidays. Just google your state DNR for lists.


ditto on the root ball being super heavy. We’ve done a live tree a few times,never more than around 4 feet tall, I plunked it into a big galvanized bucket (where the root ball fit snugly) and really liked the look. ( I’m not a fan of tree skirts.) One that we re-planted died anyway, another one we let grow for a couple of years, then we cut it down and re-used it for another Christmas – so at least we got two uses out of that one.


I think that is a fantastic idea! and an awesome tradition to start.


I got a small live one with replanting in mind two years ago, but it died before the ground thawed. Make sure if you get one it’s in rich soil and you really take care of it. They’re not really meant to be indoors, with heat drying them out and all.


This is a fantastic idea! It’s sad how many christmas trees are cut down and thrown out after the holiday season. It’s such a great (and green!) idea to plant the tree afterwards – for both the memories and the environment.


well, we get our tree off our land and it’s usually one that had to be thinned out, so planting it again seems a little counter intuitive.

as far being green, most trees come from a commercial tree farm, which means they plant replacement trees either way. but hey, one more tree certainly isn’t going to hurt anything if you want to replant it.

Just remember that the cute live tree will grow big, big, big. So leave it plenty of room to reach it’s potential.


We already have a well treed yard. My husband bought a local tree that he can strip the branches off of and dry out the trunk to re-use for his wood turning, however. It’s better than a plastic tree or junking the whole thing after. He’s really quite pleased with himself about this one.


My husband and I found a compromise on our tree. He wanted a live one, I wanted a tall indoor plant. We got a Norfolke pine. It will be an indoor plant and we have friends that have done well with them for years. Living trees are awesome and we thought about getting one to plant, but our ground may be too frozen to plant a tree for a while. If you are in a region where you can plant but don’t have a place to plant, consider contacting your local parks bureau to see if they will accept the donation for planting once you are done with your tree.


we got one the year that my first son was born – a 1.5 footer. We plan to replant the tree in a different pot each year – until it’s unsupprotable on the balcony – and the boys and tree will grow together.


The house I lived in growing up had a massive fir tree outside that looked like a seriously overgrown Christmas tree. If I recall correctly, it was–many, many years before my parents bought that house, a family had planted a rootball Christmas tree. It’s a surprisingly gorgeous tree, at times my parents contemplated having it cut down (it’s tall and very close to the house) and sending it to the Biltmore House or some such for them to use as one of their huge trees.

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[…] on Shelterrific we’ve put much thought into trees around the holidays. We’ve desired real trees, fancied untraditional and aluminum trees, wondered about black trees, and even entertained […]