You might have come across this question at least once or several times if you are an avid gardener.
Do Christmas trees thrive, survive, or die in ericaceous composts?
Let’s dive into this article to get the answers to all of your questions and even more!
By the way, did you know that a Christmas tree takes six to twelve years to grow before being put up for sale?
Do Christmas Trees Grow Best In Ericaceous Compost?
Well, to answer this question, clarification is necessary.
A Christmas tree is not a single type of tree. Various types of trees fall into the category of ‘Christmas Trees’.
They are Firs, Spruces, Pines, Cypresses, & Cedars. However, we can agree that they all share a commonality that they are all called conifers.
Conifers can thrive in all environments. Therefore, they can also grow in ericaceous composts. Ericaceous compost fulfills all the requirements of Christmas trees.
However, ericaceous compost tends to be so acidic that it negatively affects conifers or Christmas trees.
So even though Christmas trees grow in ericaceous composts, they do not grow best in ericaceous composts and can even be at a disadvantage.
What pH Do Christmas Trees Need?
Like any other plant, conifers or Christmas trees also have a preferred soil pH to grow in.
They will not thrive if we add them to the wrong mix or type of soil.
Conifers love slightly acidic soil or compost.
Their desirable pH level is slightly lower than 7 between 5.5 & 6.5.
The value 0 denotes an extremely acidic pH, 7 denotes a neutral pH, and 14 is extremely basic.
Gardeners know that conifers are used to make acidic or ericaceous compost.
So it might come as a surprise to commoners that conifers dislike extremely acidic environments.
Ericaceous composts stifle and complicate the growth of Christmas trees or conifers.
Simply put, soil with pH 5.5-6.5 makes nutrients in the soil soluble enough to be absorbed by conifers.
What Kind Of Soil Will Christmas Trees Grow In?
Let us see some other factors in soil conditions that conifers or Christmas trees love.
Conifers love soil that allows good drainage. To be specific, they love loamy soils that have silt, clay, and sand in equal proportions.
This unique ratio allows for enough moisture and voids in the soil to enable the roots to spread.
They prefer dark soils as they are high in nutrients.
Dark soils allow for moisture and voids in them. Conifers love such dark soil as they are consistently spongy.
Spongy soils have small holes that hold moisture and large holes that provide space for root growth and drain water.
Ericaceous composts keep the soil spongy as it contains large organic matter that keeps breaking down. They also love soils that are fertile and not dry.
Can You Put Ericaceous Compost In A Tub With Christmas Trees?
Conifers are mostly for sale as Christmas trees when Christmas is right around the corner. Christmas trees are expensive some days before Christmas.
But, as time passes and Christmas comes closer, sellers sell these trees at lower prices.
Hence, if you buy it too early, it might dry out even before Christmas.
So the question that we face is, can Christmas trees age slowly due to ericaceous soil or ericaceous compost? Can you add compost to the tub with the Christmas tree?
Simple research will reveal that one shouldn’t plant Christmas trees in the soil if their life is to be prolonged.
Some others might suggest adding nutrients to the tree’s water to prolong its life.
So yes, you can add ericaceous compost to prolong your Christmas tree’s life, but first, get it in the tub.
How Much Ericaceous Compost Should I Use?
This is the most confusing part. This question can even convince you to not plant conifer trees in soil, or even use ericaceous compost.
But wait, here are a few tips for you to add ericaceous compost to Christmas trees.
Before using ericaceous soil for your Christmas tree, you should first test the pH of your existing soil. Mixing ericaceous compost without testing the pH of the existing soil can have deadly results for your Christmas tree.
The pantry soil pH test is best for general results, along with the use of pH paper.
However, a pH test meter will produce the most accurate results.
Once you have the pH of the soil, it will be easier for you to mix the ericaceous compost into your soil. One may use ericaceous soil or ericaceous compost for Christmas trees with some conditions.
For general use, prepare a layer that is at least 2 inches thick. Mix this layer with the existing soil and even at the base of the tree.
If the pH of the soil is already low, denoting acidic type, start with a layer of only one inch.
If the pH of the soil is too high, denoting alkaline type, then prepare and mix a layer of inches thick compost.
The goal is to keep the pH of the soil between 5.5 and 6.5. Keep checking the pH of the soil at regular intervals and make necessary readjustments.
Do Christmas Trees Grow Without Ericaceous Compost?
Yes, Christmas trees will grow without ericaceous compost.
However, ericaceous composts are good for Christmas trees, as they do not let the soil grow alkaline.
Alkalinity in the soil can be detrimental to Christmas trees or conifers.
On the flip side, other types of composts are not as acidic as ericaceous compost.
Composts that are rich in nitrogen work great for conifers or Christmas trees. One should add compost to the soil before the trees shoot above the ground and, and before it snows.
Yes, growing a conifer or a Christmas tree can be tedious. Nonetheless, if done right, the returns are too much to regret the pain.
It can be confusing, but, well, that’s the purpose of this article- to make growing Christmas trees simple for you!
One must take extreme care and test the pH of the soil regularly so that it doesn’t get adversely affected by extreme acidity or alkalinity.
A loamy type of soil that can hold and drain moisture will work wonders for the conifer or Christmas tree!
- Soil fertility recommendations for Christmas trees. (n.d.). Rutgers.edu. Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs1187/