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Choosing a Christmas Tree

December 2013

A decorated Christmas tree is still an inherent part of traditional celebrations; but today as with so many things, we are overwhelmed with choice.

Artificial trees have obvious advantages but real trees are still a firm favourite in the UK. They bring a wonderful natural scent into a room and of course they are renewable and recyclable, something that is important today.  Also, buying a real tree encourages businesses to keep growing more trees for this market - and growing trees provide habitats for wildlife plus they absorb carbon dioxide. There are real benefits from choosing a live tree.

So, having made the decision on a live tree, what is the best type of tree.
A Norwegian spruce is the traditional Christmas tree from our childhood. It has strong branches to hold all those sparkly decorations and has a wonderful scent. The downside is that its needles can be sharp and in heated rooms, will drop quite quickly.

The most favourite type of tree for Christmas in the UK is currently a Nordman fir. This has glossier, richer green needles than a Norwegian spruce and its needles are also soft and dense, making it easy (and less painful!) to decorate. It has strong branches for decorations and also retains its needles well, even in heated rooms.


For something slightly different, it could be worth looking at a blue spruce. This tree has a blue-grey colour which can fit perfectly with other Christmas decorations and themes. It also has a very good Christmassy scent and a wider base than other species, giving more support. It has good needle retention and strong branches for decorations.


Nordman Fir


And on the subject of scents, a Fraser fir is excellent in this area - it offers a strong citrus scene that can permeate across a house. It is often the choice for people with smaller homes as it is a compact, upright tree with dark green foliage and strong branches.

A Noble fir also offers a wonderful fragrance and its foliage of dense soft blue green needles gives it a gentle hue, a perfect base for decorations. It has neat compact branches and good needle retention.

A Scots pine can work well as a Christmas tree with strong branches and twisted blue green needles that last a long time before dropping. It has a definite pine scent to add to the unique atmosphere of Christmas.

Not all Christmas suppliers will offer the same tree these days, so it can be worth spending time looking at different species to decide which one is best to fit your home.




Noble Fir

Generally, Christmas trees come cut but increasingly, potted trees with roots can also be bought. However, be aware as many people buy potted trees in the hope that they can grow them year after year. Many of these trees lost much of their root system when they were dug up to be potted, and so don’t really last much longer than a cut tree and rarely will establish themselves in the garden after Christmas.  If you are wanting the tree to grow, then talk to the supplier to ensure a suitable tree and make sure you keep it moist during the festivities before you plant it outside.

Today you can buy water holding tree stands which provide water and stability for the tree. For cut trees, if you make a fresh half inch cut at the base of the trunk, this can help the tree to absorb water and reduce early needle drop.

 


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