Cut Xmas tree with no roots growing leaves on tips

Asked January 18, 2016, 11:29 AM EST

Why is my cut Xmas tree (no roots) growing new growths of leaves/needles on the tips of each branch? I have never experienced this before (I've had several live trees in my lifetime) and can't find information on the internet. Is this unusual? However, I did view a site that reported that you can plant a Xmas tree with no roots by cutting off the bottom branches and planting/watering it (that was in West Virginia). Should I give this a try? If anything, the birds can take shelter temporarily. Thank you if you reply. I'd greatly appreciate it. Sincerely, Sono (Peg)

Armstrong County Pennsylvania

1 Response

What you are seeing with new needles emerging at branch tips is the result of buds opening up that were already present when the tree was cut. When the tree was brought indoors, the buds may have sprouted in response to sensing warm (room) temperatures inside, as though spring had come. Because of the warmer than usual November/December, this process of the buds sprouting was probably already underway before the tree was cut, while it still had a supply of water and nutrients available to support the new growth. As for replanting a cut tree, it does not work. Even if the tree is able to push out new root growth, it will not be nearly enough to support the uptake of enough water and nutrients, nor to hold the tree securely in the ground.