How can a cottage tree be potted for use at home? Can it be replanted in the spring and does it matter what species of tree is used?
A little country tree won’t be happy if it’s forced to move to the city. A coniferous sapling growing in the wild has to be a hardy little scrapper, spreading its roots far beyond the drip line to thrive, which means you would need to dig out a very large root ball to pot it. And it’s going to mope indoors in the city anyway. A wild tree follows the seasons, going dormant in winter and springing to new life with additional sunlight in summer. Indoors, it won’t photosynthesize properly.
Instead of bringing a country tree to the city, do the reverse. Get a nice little city tree in a pot from a nursery in the fall. Enjoy it indoors or outdoors. If conditions are agreeable—it’s kept outside and you repot if necessary—it could last a couple of years. But choose a species native to your cottage area; white pine or balsam fir, for example, are easy to find and grow. Then, when your city tree is getting a bit big for the house, move it up to the cottage and transplant it. Since it was grown to be transplanted, it should do fine. Just like most people we know, it’ll be thrilled to head up to cottage country.