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Help Save My Christmas Tree

  1. Nov 11, 2008 #1
    I have a potted tree that I bought last year, it was to be my Christmas tree for many years to come. Unfortunately it seems to be drying and the needles are falling off.

    Is this because it is root bound? Not getting enough water (I doubt this one)? Too much water? Not enough fertilizer? Too much fertilizer? Anybody?

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  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2
    So it has been ok for 11 months?
  4. Nov 11, 2008 #3


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    What kind of tree?

    Where have you been keeping it? Evergreens are notoriously difficult to keep indoors no matter how much sun and feeding.

    Also, they need to have periods of dormancy. That is the number one reason why they die when brought indoors. They need the temperature changes experienced outdoors.

    Also, when you potted it, did it have any root structure to speak of? If it didn't you should have carefully peeled some bark away and potted with some rooting hormone and 10-52-10. If there are no roots, there is no way the tree can feed itself.

    The feeding in and of itself is tough and easy to do wrong.

    No matter what, if the needles are dry and falling off, it's a goner. There's nothing you can do. The only thing you can do is to learn from this tree and apply that to the next one.
  5. Nov 11, 2008 #4
    Yes, it was fine indoors last winter, and was out on my balcony all last summer. This winter when I brought it in it started drying up.
  6. Nov 11, 2008 #5
    It is a `Norfolk Pine' according to the tag that came with it.
    It was outside on the balcony all summer. Once the temperatures started dropping below freezing I brought it in.
    So I should have left it outside? I didn't want the roots to freeze, so I brought it in.
    It had decent roots when I bought it.
    What type of fertilizer should I be using, how often?
    Not all the needles are dried up yet. It's drying from the bottom to the top.

    Thanks for the advice. I attached a picture to the OP, it's still pending approval.
  7. Nov 11, 2008 #6
    It didn't look like it was beyond salvation. We were always told that it should not be kept near batteries or any other place where there is too much heat. In nature pine requires a damp and shadowy place. Outdoors probably is better in that respect. However, since it is in a pot I would avoid freezing it completely.
  8. Nov 11, 2008 #7
    Outdoors is currently snowing. Any advice on how to keep it outdoors without it freezing completely?
  9. Nov 11, 2008 #8
    Do we have a financial constraint here? My engineering side would go for the extravaganza.

    Ok, if the temperature is permanently below 0 C then there could be complications but I don't think occasional snowing hurts. Besides if there is a lot of snow you could build a little iglu for the pot. Temperature below (maybe 20cm?) snow is near 0 C. We planted our christmas tree to the ground and temperatures in the winter occasionally reach -30 C and it's still alive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2008
  10. Nov 11, 2008 #9
    You were wise to bring it indoors. Its not a normal pine, its very tender. And where it lives naturally never freezes. If it gets frozen it will die. You need to water it when the top inch or so feels dry, and never let it sit in water. Feed it only when it shows signs of growth and use regular house plant fertilizer,not pine tree fertilizer.
    The problem I have had with them is keeping the relative humidity high around the plant. They thrive on high humidity{50%}, and once the home heat is turned on, with out additional humidity, the branches dry out very quickly. I ran a portable humidifier right next to mine, it seemed to help.
    If you haven't re-potted it, you probably should. Go ahead and remove the dead branches, they will not come back.
  11. Nov 11, 2008 #10
    i killed one of these several years ago. good luck.
  12. Nov 11, 2008 #11


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    That's the most alive I've ever seen one of those. I'm guessing they are not that easy to keep alive as a houseplant since I've never seen anyone successful with them.
  13. Nov 11, 2008 #12
    Unfortunately finances (and maybe building codes?) don't allow for the construction of a full greenhouse on my balcony, though that would be awesome.
    Here in Edmonton we routinely get entire weeks below -30 C. For now it is still warming above 0 C during the days, but pretty soon it won't be.
  14. Nov 11, 2008 #13
    I re-potted it shortly after I purchased it. I'll see if I have any larger pots. If I don't, I'll have to try to find one to buy (won't be easy this time of year).
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