Can You Replant a Christmas Tree Without Roots?

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Christmas trees are a beautiful centerpiece during the holidays with their lights, decorations, and presents underneath. It can be sad to have to take them down once the season has ended, and common to wonder, can you replant a Christmas tree without roots? Let’s find out answers to this question and more about replanting your Christmas tree. Because, what better way to keep the holiday spirit alive than having a Christmas tree in your backyard!

Can you replant a Christmas tree without roots?

Sadly no, you can’t replant a Christmas tree without roots. Your Christmas tree can absorb water through its trunk, without roots, if placed directly into a container with water. However, when you plant a tree in the ground, it needs its roots to absorb water from the soil.

Christmas tree trunk in stand with water

Having said this, you can grow a new tree from the branches of fresh-cut Christmas trees. Make sure to get a branch off your tree within 2 or 3 days after the tree was cut. You’ll also want to have several stems since some might not successfully develop roots.

How do you plant a Christmas tree from branches?

To plant a Christmas tree from branches, you’ll want to make sure you collect several stems from a fresh-cut tree (i.e., within 2 or 3 days of cutting it). The cut branch should be around 6 to 10 inches long and as thick as a pencil.

Then you’ll want to:

  • Remove needles from the stem’s bottom half
  • Fill a pot with potting soil and water so it’s damp to the touch
  • Make a hole in the soil using a pencil
  • Cut some vertical slits to the bottom of the branch
  • Dip the stem slits into hormone powder and put the stem in the soil
  • Place the pot in a sheltered location without a lot of sunlight
  • Mist the needles with water a few times daily and add water if the soil is dry
  • Continue for at least three months until the roots start to form
  • Once roots have developed, move the plant to a larger container and add fertilizer
  • After a few months, the young tree should be large enough for outdoor planting

Can you replant a Christmas tree with roots?

Yes, you can replant a Christmas tree if it has its rootball. Therefore, some planning ahead is required to do this successfully. When you purchase your Christmas tree, ask for one with its rootball intact. The rootball usually comes covered with a piece of burlap.

Be careful not to damage the root ball or the trunk during transportation, or you won’t be able to replant it later. The rootball must also remain damp at all times. Additionally, buying a smaller tree will make it easier to transition it from indoors to outdoors.

You’ll want to dig the hole where you will replant your tree in advance, especially before the ground becomes frozen. You probably shouldn’t keep your tree indoors for long either. Keeping it in a cold, sheltered location in water outdoors and bringing it into your home for only a week or week and a half will ensure the Christmas tree can adapt to outside conditions again.

Before replanting your tree in the soil, keep it outdoors in a cold, sheltered area again so the tree can re-enter dormancy. When you plant your tree in the hole, cover the hole with soil and mulch and water your tree. You don’t have to fertilize it until the spring.

planting a pine tree | image: depositphotos

What do I do with my real Christmas tree after Christmas?

If you didn’t purchase a Christmas tree with roots and are wondering what you’ll do with your tree after the holidays, look no further. The most common way to repurpose your Christmas tree is to find a Christmas tree drop-off area in your neighborhood. These trees are collected to be recycled towards the community, such as creating habitats for fish or becoming playground mulch.

Other ideas for repurposing your Christmas tree include:

  • Create a garden stake to grow beans or flowers by stripping the tree bare
  • Turn it into mulch yourself by using a shredder
  • Make plant covers with the branches that can bend into arches
  • Create a bird feeder by decorating the branches with bird food
  • Use the pine needles in a potpourri bowl to make natural air freshers
  • Turn the branches into home arrangements such as garlands or wreaths

Can I burn my Christmas tree in a fire pit?

You really shouldn’t. Trees and wood come hand in hand, so it’s easy to assume you can just chop up your Christmas tree branches and use them in your fire pit. However, do take caution before you do this! It’s best to burn only dry wood in your fire pit and your Christmas tree may not be dry enough, even if it looks brown and withered.

The needles are also extremely flammable and create sparks that can catch nearby clothes or grass on fire. Additionally, needles create toxic smoke that might not be worth the hazard, even when burning them outdoors.


Unfortunately, you can’t replant Christmas trees without roots, but all hope is not lost! You can always use the branches to propagate roots and plant a new tree that will be ready for future holidays. There are also ways to repurpose your tree, including creating creative decorations for your home or garden. And if you really want a tree you can replant, make sure your next purchase has its rootball intact!