It’s that time of year again when the presents are bought, the festive songs are heard and the Christmas tree is bought and decorated.

Choosing the right tree is important not only to impress the family but to keep the peace, by making sure the one you have chosen, doesn’t lose all its needles before Christmas day.

When we buy plants, shrubs and trees we have to ensure that they are healthy and to a high standard suitable for our landscaping works.

Below is a quick guide on selecting the perfect tree and caring for it, giving a grief free Christmas.

Buying the tree

1. It is important, that whatever type of fresh Christmas tree you decide to buy it is as fresh, and as local as possible.  A tree bought from the local garage, which was harvested 4 weeks ago in Norway, is not going to look its best on Christmas day!
2. Ensure when buying, that you ask the retailer where the tree was grown and when it was harvested.  Better still; buy one direct from the grower at a Christmas tree farm.
3. Choose a tree that the needles are still full of colour and fresh looking.  Give the tree a gentle shake, making sure that the needles are not dry and already falling out (there will be a few needles fall that have naturally shed).
4. Make sure that the size of tree you are buying will fit into its location.  There is nothing more embarrassing than getting the tree home and having to cut it in half so that it will stand up!!

Types of tree

There are three very common trees that are sold within the UK and they all have their own benefits.  They are:

  • Norway Spruce – This is the traditional British Christmas tree.  It has the traditional shape and colour and has the beautiful pine scent that we all expect from a fresh Christmas tree.  The down side is that it will drop its needles.
  • Nordman fir – This tree has darker green needles to the Norway spruce and has a more open structure.  It’s also very slow at dropping its needles.
  • Blue Spruce – Has blue coloured needles and also holds its needles better than the Norway Spruce.  Has one downside that some people think that it gives of a aroma of cats urine!!

Tree Care

Caring for the tree once you get it home is of the most importance if you don’t want the tree looking as bald as the turkey.

1. When you get the tree home, store it in a bucket of water in a cool, dry place out of the wind until you are ready to bring it inside.
2. When you are ready to bring it into the home cut off a 2.5cm (1 inch) slice off the bottom of the trunk.  This is to remove the clogged up pores and allow the tree to absorb water.
3. Fasten the stand to the bottom of the trunk ensuring the stand you have is capable of holding water.
4. Bring the tree inside and locate away from radiators or fires as this will cause it to dry out.
5. Fill the stand up with water.  Some people say add an aspirin, sugar or fizzy drinks.  Bear in mind if you spill it water is the easiest to clean up.
6. Check and water the tree on a daily bases. You will be surprised at how much it drinks per day, 1.2 – 4.5l (2 pints to a gallon) of water is usual.
7. Dispose of you tree correctly.  Most councils offer a free tree collection service after Christmas or the local council refuse centre will be more than happy to recycle it.

Above all, ensure you have a happy stress free Christmas.