Italian Stone Pine – maybe the best choice as a “Living” Christmas Tree
I’ve had several questions about Christmas trees lately. There are basically three choices for Christmas trees – 1) artificial, 2) cut and 3) living trees for planting outdoors after the holidays. There are pros and cons of each choice.
Artificial Christmas trees are just that – artificial but due to allergies, some people have to go that route. Some of them look pretty good these days. Cut trees primarily come from farms that grow trees for that purpose, so there is not an environmental issue – except for the toxic chemicals used to grow most of these trees.
Fraser fir and noble fir are the two most popular cut trees but varieties include Virginia pine, Afghan pine (Eldarica), Leyland cypress and Eastern red cedar. With the exception of Virginia pine, these all can be purchased as living trees and planted after the holidays. Leyland cypress should not be purchased at all anymore. It is in trouble from a fungal disease and dying out. Eldarica pine should only be planted in arid conditions. It is a desert plant.
The very best choices for living trees to be planted in the landscape after Christmas are Eastern red cedar, Italian stone pine, and rosemary - which is great for small spaces or table tops. Remember to set the living tree up in the house just before Christmas and plant outdoors immediately after removing the ornaments. The longer they are inside, the weaker they will become.
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