Q. We’ re planning on purchasing a living pine tree to decorate this Christmas. We understand that it should not be indoors for very long, but how long should we wait to plant after the holiday? U.L., Albuquerque
A. You’re correct that when choosing to use a living tree indoors to celebrate the holiday it is best if it’s inside for no more than 7 days. Plan to bring it in two days before Christmas and then move it back outside 2 to 3 days after the holiday. Be sure that you water the container – soaked to drippy wet – a couple of hours before you bring it in and place it on a large saucer or some sort of plastic sheeting, so your floors aren’t marred while it’s indoors.
Then, place it in a cool spot indoors, not next to a fireplace, wood stove or heater.
When you take the tree back outdoors, place it somewhere fairly protected – under a covered patio, in an unheated garage – for 3 to 4 days, remembering to water the container again thoroughly. That’ll keep the tree stable and asleep, so to speak. After you’ve prepared for its placement outdoors, I want you to research the tree’s needs. Be sure you’re able to offer it the space it’ll take up once it reaches maturity. Remember to look up when hunting for the perfect spot in the yard.