The second and third weekends in December are the busiest for decking the halls and putting up the Christmas tree! Nothing can beat the fresh smell of a real tree in our living rooms - the three most popular are spruce, pine and fir – which did you choose?
The Norway spruce has the perfect shape and a smell that is synonymous with all things Christmas! This is the variety that is used in Trafalgar Square, which is a gift from Oslo to London every year. Although Spruce looks and smells great, it is prone to dropping needles early especially in central heated homes.
Pine trees are often the best at keeping their needles and Scots Pine is by far the best, however as it has many other commercial uses it is unusual to find this variety of tree available for Christmas.
In recent years Nordman and Douglas firs have become the most popular choice of tree. Nordman is the king of none-drop trees with luscious green foliage and a wonderful scent. It keeps its colour throughout the Christmas period, but the branches are often not as strong as spruce leading to them drooping over the course of December. Douglas firs are not as good at keeping their needles as Nordman fir, but they do come with a wonderful citrus smell and a slightly lower price tag.
Caring for your tree
Pick a healthy tree
The trees which will last the longest are those which are the freshest and healthiest. To test how fresh a tree is - drop it on its stump from a couple of inches high. The fewer needles that drop indicates that the tree is fresher. Although most good retailers will reject any obviously poor quality trees it is good to check a potential tree for any damaged or browning branches before choosing.
Cut the base of the stump
A tree will quickly seal a wound with sap, which means that the tree won’t absorb any water. You should cut an inch off the base of the trunk before placing it in water, as the pores will be re-opened allowing the natural capillary action of the tree to draw water up the trunk to the leaves. This will keep it healthy for longer.
Keep away from direct heat
Radiators and fires will quickly dry out a tree leaving it brown and brittle. To keep the tree lasting as long as possible, find a cool spot in the room - often the best place is close to external windows which are usually cooler than the rest of a room.
A fresh cut tree will drink up to 2 litres of water per day, check it is topped up with water every day. If the cut is exposed to air then the sap will begin to re-seal the wound preventing any more water from being taken up.
Please get in touch with our Gardening Angels if you have any further questions – they are professionals when it comes to Christmas tree decorating!