Thinking about buying a real Christmas tree this year? Here's all you need to know about choosing and caring for the right one.
Image: Garden Trading
Buying a real tree is one of the many joys of Christmas and there's nothing more festive than the smell of pine needles. We spoke to Dobbies Garden Centres about the different types of tree and how to properly take care of each one, so you can keep your tree healthy and full for the big day.
The 4 types of real Christmas tree
In the UK we can get our hands on 4 main types of Christmas tree. One of the most popular is the Norway Spruce. It's known as the most traditional type of tree as it has a lovely pyramid shape, dark green foliage and a potent festive scent.
By far the most popular option here in the UK has to be the Nordmann Fir. Its dark green glossy foliage and soft-to-the-touch needles are best dressed with fewer decorations, making it ideal for minimalist homes. It also has a low needle drop which means it's quite easy to care for.
If you don't have a lot of floor space to work with and would prefer a narrower tree, the Fraser Fir is the best option for you. It has dense blue/green foliage and has a gorgeous citrus scent.
The Noble Fir is a strong, chunky tree that are perfect for packing full of decorative baubles. If you're wanting a cooler colour palette, the branches are a bluey/grey colour so will be perfect for your decorating scheme.
Practical things to consider
Image: Annie Spratt
- Going to your local garden centre to purchase a real Christmas tree can be an exciting task. However, make sure you keep your practical head on and consider the height and weight of the tree you're looking to buy. Before you head off make sure to decide where you want the Christmas tree to be in your home and measure the height and width that you've got to play with.
- Test the needle retention before you buy. Take the tree by the trunk and tap it on the ground. All evergreen trees lose needles all year round, but if too many fall out you might want to reconsider your pick.
- Make sure the tree you're going to purchase will fit in the car. Most garden centres will net it for you, which makes things easier. Ensure that the tree's trunk is pointed towards the car's front end, this will help reduce wind damage to the pine needles.
How to care for a real Christmas tree
- Un-net your tree and leave it to stand for 24 hours before decorating so that the branches can settle into place. Cut off a couple of centimetres from the stump, as this will enable the tree to take up more water.
- Your tree will need approximately 1-2 litres a day. Remember if you put your tree close to a radiator, it's going to dry out quicker.
- Also, make sure you're not placing it too close to any candles as this can cause a fire risk!
What to do post-Christmas
Image: Simon Matzinger
- Rather than disposing of your Christmas tree once all of the festivities are over, consider recycling it. Check with your local council for more information on collections from your doorstep.
- If you've got a fire or know someone that has, why not chop the tree up for firewood? However, a fresh tree will be too wet to make for good, efficient firewood. Cut it up and dry out for 6 months and it'll be perfect for throwing on the woodburner.
- If you opted for a pot-grown tree, remember to plant it as soon as possible so you can reuse it for next year.
Are you opting for a real Christmas tree this year? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag, posting a comment on our Facebook page or posting a picture of your tree on Instagram using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome for your chance to be featured on our Instagram.