How to Replant a Live Christmas Tree for Flourishing Evergreen Foliage All Through the Year

Extend the magic of Christmas into the new year by planting your tree in your yard

Two evergreen fir trees growing in a garden border
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With Christmas Day in the rearview, we totally understand if you want to cling on to the festivities a little longer. Ensuring you have a live Christmas tree, one brilliant way to extend the magic of Christmas into next year - and future festive seasons - is by planting your tree in your backyard, and we're here to tell you how. 

Even if you're not an experienced green thumb, this task is much easier than you might think. Christmas trees are hardy plants that will thrive in most climates, and the evergreen needles of a fir can bring some bright green color to your garden when it's needed it most. If you're thinking of taking your tree outside and offering it a new home in your backyard, here's what you need to know. 

Can all Christmas trees be replanted?

A garden drive with a small fir tree growing behind a rock

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While planting a Christmas tree is possible, you will need to ensure you have a live potted plant in order to do so. 'Potted Christmas trees, especially those that have been well-cared for and not kept indoors for too long, often adapt well to outdoor conditions again, making them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for the festive season,' says George Brown, gardening specialist at Urban Leafy. 

As mentioned, though, not all Christmas trees are suitable for replanting. 'The key distinction lies between potted trees and those with a cut turn,' says Tony O'Neill, gardening expert at Simplify Gardening. 'Potted Christmas trees, with their root systems intact, are ideal candidates for replanting. However, trees with cut trunks cannot be replanted as they have lost their root system, which is essential for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.' In most cases, this will only apply to those of us with a small Christmas tree that came inside a planter. Taller, mature plants will come with a cut trunk instead. 

Where should a Christmas tree be planted?

Planting a tree in your garden border will not only offer evergreen foliage all year round, but it will add some height and depth to your other plants, too. You will have to make sure it has the necessary conditions to thrive, however. 

'When considering a location for planting a Christmas tree, thinking long-term is essential,' says Tony. 'These trees, typically species like Norway Spruce or Douglas Fir, require plenty of space to grow, both in height and width. It’s also crucial to consider the tree’s proximity to buildings, power lines, and other structures, as it will grow significantly over the years.' 

These evergreens will thrive best in an open, sunny spot with well-drained soil. As George adds: 'The ideal spot for planting a Christmas tree is an area with well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and enough space for the tree to grow.' 

How do you replant a Christmas tree? 

A small evergreen tree growing in a garden border

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The actual task of replanting your tree is relatively easy and will only take you a matter of minutes. First, though, you'll need to spare a thought for its acclimatization. 'Before moving the tree outdoors, gradually acclimate it to the change in temperature over several days,' Tony suggests. 

After getting used to the warm temperatures inside your home over the festive season, a sudden transfer into cold temperatures and damp soil can harm the plant. Start by moving your tree near a doorway, and then leave it for a day or two outside but within its pot. 'It's best to replant the tree as soon as possible after the holiday season to reduce stress on the plant,' adds George.

Next, choose an appropriate position for your tree and dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper. We think it makes one of the best trees for the front yards, but you'll need to make sure you pick the perfect spot for plenty of sunlight. 'Carefully remove the tree from its pot, place it in the hole, and ensure it’s standing straight,' says Tony. 'Backfill the hole with the excavated soil, gently firming it down without compacting it too much.'

Immediately afterward you'll need to water it thoroughly to help the roots settle into their new home. 'It's crucial to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged to encourage root growth,' adds George, so ensure you keep your tree well-watered throughout the year. 

'Finally, apply a layer of mulch around the tree's base to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature,' says Tony. 'Post-planting care is also crucial for the survival of the tree so it's advisable to protect it from wind and harsh sun initially. Fertilizing is typically not recommended right after planting but can be considered in the following growing season. Also, remember that some needle drop is normal as the tree adjusts to its new environment.' George is quick to note that the success of replanting also depends on the tree species and your local climate. 'Some species adapt better to replanting than others,' he says. 

Now you can enjoy your tree's iconic green foliage all year round and, if you're feeling extra festive next year, why not adorn your outdoor tree with some decorations? Each year will be a reminder of Christmases gone by, and how your tree has served you year after year.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.