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Care of the Tabletop Tree

Warning: If your tree is decorated, keep it out of reach of children under age three because the small decorations pose a choking hazard.

Care Upon Arrival

Check the soil around the roots to make sure it’s moist. If dry, water until the soil is thoroughly moist but not soggy. Do not let the soil dry out at any time, especially if you plan to keep the tree alive for planting outdoors in the spring. In regions where the ground does not freeze, you may plant right after the holidays. The tree is not suitable as a houseplant and should be planted outdoors as soon as the weather allows.

After the Holidays

After a few weeks indoors, the tree will begin reacting to the warmth as if it were spring and may start to grow. Do not move the tree suddenly outside after the holidays. Keep the tree in a cool location with bright sunlight and away from direct heat. In regions where the ground freezes, wait to plant until early spring, after the ground has thawed.

In regions where the ground does not freeze with average air temperatures above 40 degrees F., move the tree to a sheltered outdoor area for two weeks, so it can adjust to the colder temperatures before being planted.

Planting

Dig a planting hole for the tree as deep as the height and twice as wide as the root ball.

When you are ready to transplant the tree, remove it from the container. Loosen the burlap but try to leave the burlap in place around the roots. Be careful not to disturb the soil around the roots. Place your tree in the planting hole and cover the roots with soil. Firm the soil against the root ball as you add it to the hole. After filling the hole, apply a double layer of mulch on the ground, around the perimeter of the tree. Water well when planting and be sure to keep the root mass adequately moist for at least the next year, even in the winter.

Adequate watering during the first growing season encourages deeper root growth, making the plant less susceptible to drought stress. Transplanted trees need at least one year of good care to survive, and a regular soaking in dry weather. The Alberta spruce can grow up to 10 feet tall.

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