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So we got a christmas tree in a pot this year. As far as I can work out it is a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_abies. I know it won't have been grown in the pot, and the roots are probably not in very good shape and all and chances are generally not so good for this tree. ;)

Anyway, my question is specifically about what it means when the needles start falling off for this kind of tree.

I understand they don't like it in dry indoor conditions, you're ideally supposed to spray them and water the pot, and they will be happier outside.

If you let them dry out, the needles start falling off (or fall off more quickly), and it gets so the needles are kind of hanging on by a thread, and whenever you disturb a branch you get a shower of needles.

My question is then, when it gets to that point, is it already 'too late' for these needles? Or, if it is put outside, and misted with a bit of water, is it possible for these same needles to 'firm up' again and the branches survive?

By implication, then, is it worth while treating it very delicately, and trying to avoid knocking the branches when the needles are all ready to fall off?

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No, it makes no difference, dying and dead needles will fall off eventually on their own anyway. The trick, IF your tree has roots, is really to not keep it in the house long enough for that to happen - but some hardening off is required before placing outside permanently, so it can acclimatize over 4 or 5 days to outdoor temperatures compared to indoor ones.

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