From The Mud Puddle

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Adventures in planting our Ball Root Tree(s), past and present.

We took our Christmas Tree down today. Oh please don’t go look at the calendar! I already know that it is two months past Christmas, and one month until Easter. We did at least take the ornaments off of the tree six weeks ago.

Four years ago, we were getting ready to buy our Christmas tree and I was hit by a moment of conscience. I felt wasteful about buying a tree that we would decorate, use only for a couple of weeks, and then toss to the curb after the holidays were over. My husband had recently been laid off from his job and we were counting every penny. To spend money on a tree, I really felt it should do more for us than just entertain us for one month.

We could have easily solved this problem by buying an artificial tree, but we didn’t really want an artificial tree that year. (They were also a bit more expensive than our budget would have allowed that particular year) We wanted a live tree. We have had both, artificial and live trees and just seemed to prefer the live ones in look, smell and feel.

To solve my dilemma, I found the perfect solution; the Ball Root Christmas Tree.

A Ball Root Christmas Tree is one that is not cut down, but is dug up, roots and all. It is bound by burlap and strong wire to keep the root confined so that you can bring it inside. After bringing it home, we went shopping to find a wash tub. I thought it would be so charming to have this cute Christmas Tree sitting in a wash tub in our living room. I was right! I loved that first ball root tree we had that year. It was a perfect solution for us that year.

Now I won’t cover up the fact that a Ball Root Christmas Tree is a piece of cake to get home, or into your home, or into the wash tub. There was a lot of grunting and groaning going on by my husband as he worked to get that tree out of the car and into the house. He did it because he loves me and it is what I really wanted. I love that man!

I remember that first year as Christmas was over, we did take the ornaments off the tree in a timely manner, but we did wait to take the tree outside. I know it was still sitting here in March of that year, right in my living room. I have always wondered what the plumber thought that had to come to our house in March when he saw that Christmas Tree still sitting there when he came in to do some work. It was humorous really. I told my husband, “I think it is time we try to get that tree back outside”. He agreed and laughed to himself as well. He at least was laughing until he had to struggle to get that thing out of the house again!

Once again, with a lot of groaning and gritting of teeth, my husband got the tree down the front steps and to the part of the yard I had picked out to put it. My husband dug a hole big enough for it and we left it outside. It was sort of sad leaving it outside. We had become attached to that tree. It held some special meaning to us as it was our Christmas Tree after all. I was thankful that I didn’t have to put it out at the road to be taken away by the city workers.

That first Ball Root Christmas Tree survived the first year and I was able to put a string of white lights on it. We went to buy another one and repeated the process again. Sometime in late January or early February, that tree was planted by the first one we had bought the year before. We now had two root ball Christmas Trees planted in our yard. Life was good.

By summer, rains quit falling, and both trees died. Both were dug up and put out by the road.

The next Christmas, we went to buy yet another Root Ball Christmas Tree. We felt we were now old hands at this business. We walked up confidently and picked out our tree. We knew what we were doing by now, so we thought.

The root wouldn’t fit in the trunk of our car. That really should have been our first clue that this tree would be so different from the other two. My husband had to go home to get our van. He returned to get the tree and get it home.

Simply put, we really thought we’d never get that tree into the house. We honestly thought we might have to just plant our Christmas Tree on in the yard that year because it was too heavy to get up the front steps and into the house. Once again, my husband struggled, groaned and moaned as he worked that tree up one step at a time, across our porch and over the threshold of our front door. We were very happy it was finally inside, until we saw that this same root that wouldn’t fit into our trunk of our car also was not going to go into my sweet little metal wash tub we had used for a couple of years before now. Oh what were we going to do?

We went to Tractor Supply and bought a feed trough, that is what we did.

We bought this nice black round feed trough that you might use on a farm to feed animals. The root ball fit perfectly in it. We sat there looking at this huge tree sitting in this feed trough (that really didn’t look like anything more than a huge heavy plastic container), and also looked at our front door wondering how in the world we would get it back outside and down the steps into the yard again once Christmas was over. We figured we’d cross that road when we got to January or February.

I just hoped in the meantime that our floor didn’t give way because of the weight of the thing. “Merry Christmas” doesn't have quite the ring to it if you have a big hole in your living room floor during the holidays!

After Christmas, we did indeed get it planted in the yard. All I know is that gravity was our friend and this thing flew down those front steps a whole lot easier than it went up them.

As hard and difficult as last year’s tree was, this past Christmas renewed my resolve that having a Ball Root Christmas Tree is worth it. We were able to fit that one into the car trunk easily. My teenage son was able to whip it out of the car and into the house and into the wash tub (not the feed trough) with one swift move. My husband came home and saw the tree already standing there. I know he breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t have to struggle with a tree that year.

After Christmas, we undecorated it and just left the lights on in case we wanted to enjoy just the white lights. We kept talking about how we needed to get this tree outside and planted, but we did joke that we might as well leave it inside so that we could enjoy it this coming year. Why not just keep the thing inside and watered so that we could save on buying a tree next Christmas?

In the end, reason won out and my husband gathered some gloves and the shovel so he could remove the other dead tree from last year (that was still standing in the ground where it died in the summer). He made quick work of removing the dead tree and getting the other tree in the ground. We hope for the best for this most recent Ball Root Christmas Tree, but we also know that we remain in a drought and it’s chances are slim.

Only nine more months and we get to do it again!

My husband and son work to get the Christmas Tree into the ground after it has spent the last three months in our house. My husband had to cut the ropes off to remove the wires that surround the burlap.
My son watches his dad work on the ropes below.

My husband Jay, who is also my hero, adjusts the tree properly in the hole and then shovels dirt back around the root.

Here my husband stands proud and true with his shovel and hammer knowing he has worked hard to preserve our Christmas tradition of a Ball Root Tree planted in the yard long after Christmas is over.

Christmas Tree of '07-Full of life, for now!

Christmas Tree of '06 , you are dead to me!

1 comment(s):

I hope this tree makes it! What you're doing is such a great idea, but would never work for wimps like us : (

Your house looks so adorable and homey and cozy in the background; I love the porch.

And, if you find a different / just the right spot - maybe you can leave your tree in the house all year . . . my aunt leaves her artificial one up and decorates it for Valentines, Easter, etc. But it's in a living room that is unused unless an event / company is hosted.

MAYBE I could do this in my atrium...... hmm...... but I doubt that my husband would be quite so understanding or helpful as your hubby. . . and then there's the cat. . . .

By Blogger MSM, at 11:09 AM, February 26, 2008  

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