Whether it is a Norway Spruce, Scots Pine, Fraser Fir or a Nordman Fir, Christmas trees are set to take pride of place in homes this December. In Europe alone 60 million Christmas trees are grown every year with more that eight million being sold in the UK every year, proving that the Christmas tree is the perfect festive centre piece. But with so many options on the market how do you pick the right tree for your home? Which tree wont shed its needles? How many times should it be watered? And how can you keep it looking fresh throughout the festive period? David Mitchell, Wyevale Garden Centresâ€™ Real Christmas tree buyer, shares his top tips for Christmas tree care..
Buy your tree soon
Donâ€™t wait until the last minute to buy your tree â€“ they are all cut around the same time [at
Wyevale Garden Centres we cut ours late October early November] so buying early means you have
the widest choice and can start caring for your tree as soon as possible.
Avoid pre-netted trees
Buy a tree that has had the netting removed for display â€“ that way you can see the shape and be confident the tree has been looked after. Trees left in netting can begin to form a micro climate where the centre warms up making them more prone to needle drop and can shorten its life.
Check the needles
The colour of the needles should be a dark green rather than pale and washed out, and should feel waxy to the touch, not dry. By stroking the tree you be will be able to see if the needles come off easily.
Know which tree you want
If youâ€™re concerned about needle-dropping choose a variety of tree such as the Nordman Fir, which is known to retain its needles.
Give it pre-Christmas care
Keep your Christmas tree fresher for longer by chopping or sawing a few centimeters off the bottom and soaking it in a bucket of water outside, either overnight or for as long as possible, before bringing it inside.
Keep watering it
Once youâ€™ve brought your tree inside make sure you fill the stand with water to continue to feed the needles. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) says a Christmas tree should be cared for like any other plant in your home, so whilst itâ€™s in a warm and dry atmosphere, it should also be watered (dependent on tree type). The BCTGA has more information about specific tree care on their website.
Avoid a draught
Keep your tree away from direct sunlight, draughts and heat from radiators and fireplaces to avoid drying it out and shortening its life. Ideally, try to use LED tree lights which emit less heat and are better for the environment.