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Pining for a different holiday tree this year? Branch out and go live (then replant it in your yard!)

Several small pine trees with green needles sit in tan pots.
Andrey Zhuravlev
No need to pine for holiday decorations this year! Branch out and go for a live tree that you can replant and enjoy for years to come.

A living tree can make a fun centerpiece for your holiday celebrations! Choose from lots of different needle-bearing live trees from your local nursery. Each year, you can decorate indoors, then replant outdoors.

Do you celebrate the Christmas holiday with a decorated tree as the main focal point? This year, instead of putting up an artificial tree from a box or purchasing a freshly cut tree, try a living tree instead that you can replant!

Thinking outside the Christmas tree box means in the years to come, you can buy a living tree and replant it to create your own miniature forest of needle-bearing trees in your yard.

Because you'll need to let the tree acclimate to its temporary indoor stint, and that process will take several days, this is a good time to head to a local tree nursery to choose one!

Several needle-bearing trees do well in our climate, so at the tree nursery, look for landscape trees that still have roots wrapped in burlap. And pick one that you'll want indoors as well as look at for years to come outdoors.

Blue spruce boast green-blue colored needles and tend to be very stiff and prickly. Think about that if the tree will be in your home in a high-traffic area (little ones and pets might get irked each time they brush past!)

More from Vermont Public: Buck traditional and choose from these five alternative holiday trees

To avoid blue spruce's prickly nature, go for a smaller, table-top version that you can replant outdoors later.

Trees with softer needles, like the Serbian and Norway spruces, provide greener colored needles. And the dwarf Alberta spruce has very soft foliage, but not a lot of branches for hanging ornaments on.

If it's the pine fragrance you're after, go for a living balsam fir; they're native to our region and will do well planted outdoors after the holidays. And juniper trees can work well, too. But if you're pining to recreate the look of the tree from the Charlie Brown Christmas holiday special, go for a white pine!

All of these trees are landscape plants and not meant for hanging out in your home for long. They'll need a bit of extra care if you are going to have them indoors as decoration before they go outdoors once again for permanent planting.

A few tips to keep your living tree happy indoors and out

Once you choose your tree from the nursery — be it a spruce, juniper, pine or fir — make sure to let it acclimate first.

Do this by leaving the balled and burlap-covered tree outside in a protected spot. Then a week or so before you're going to bring it indoors, take it into a shed or unheated garage where it's a bit warmer, but not like indoors.

Once you bring the tree inside, plan to only keep it indoors for a week at the most. Place the tree (root ball and all) in a bucket where you can keep it well-watered. Then decorate and enjoy!

After the tree's indoor stint is up, do the whole process in reverse — bring it back to a shed or unheated garage for a week, then outdoors where you can dig a hole, plant it and backfill with the soil and enjoy for years to come.

A comment on using the Indigenous name for a holiday plant

In reference to the history of the nochebuena plant getting its name, "poinsettia." It took me a while to learn how to pronounce the Indigenous name of this beautiful plant, "cuetlaxōchitl," or "kway-tla-so-cheel." (In the language of the Axtecs). Since it seems like Mr. Poinsett was not a good guy, I think it's so great to move on from naming plants after people like him. - Joanna, in Middlebury

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your written question via email, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.