2' Live Pine Tree, Potted

Hi,
I wonder if anybody knows how to care for a little pine tree I bought at the supermarket at Christmastime. He's done his duty as a Christmas Tree and now I want to do right by him. I've put him in a 2' x 2' redwood barrell. I plan to plant him somewhere in the spring, but meanwhile, what does he need? The instructions told me to "keep soil damp, NOT SOAKED;" well, I did that and he got awfully dry. He even developed a few brown needles close to the trunk. I've been watering him a lot more since I noticed that, but I'm aware overwatering is just as perilous as under-watering. Do you know of a happy medium for pine trees between parched and drowned? A watering schedule, perhaps?
I live in Northern California where pine trees flourish. When springs comes, is there any reason I shouldn't plant him where other pines are growing wild -- in a regional park, say?
Thanks,
Harper
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Jim Lewis wrote:

Oh, *thank* you. That should work very well.

He's 2' tall, and 11/2' tall, and maybe 11/2' around. Right now he's just a chubby little bush. The rootball was about 1' long, like a loaf of bread.

Yes, that's exactly what I did.

Ah, a very good thing to know. I will be careful to make sure the root ball gets plenty wet.

It has a few rocks, white flecks, etc. The nursery sales associate said it would be the best for my purposes.

It's species of pine was not mentioned on the little tag that came with him, so I'll have to take him into a nursery and find out. You have been enormously helpful, Jim. Thanks so very much!!
Harper
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