Iowans who bought “live” trees for their inside holiday decorations should get those evergreens back outside & in the ground as soon as possible, according to one expert. Paul Wray (ray), a foresty professor at Iowa State University, says trees won’t survive if they stay in the warmth too long. Professor Wray says it’s a nice idea to not kill a tree every Christmas but to buy a living tree with a root ball that can be replanted. It does take prior planning though, like digging a hole ahead of time since the ground is frozen already in many parts of the Hawkeye State. He says it’s not too late if people haven’t dug a hole yet — they may only have a few inches of frost and snow they’d have to dig through. Wray says those smaller, potted evergreens and scotch pines that’re just a foot or so tall are even more delicate than the big ones. He says people are tempted to keep those in their homes all winter to plant in the spring — but that usually doesn’t work. He says not to use hot water on the tree once it’s planted outside — just regular room temperature tap water is fine. He also suggests putting hay or a heavy mulch around the tree’s roots to provide a little more protection through the harsh season ahead.
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