10 tips for choosing and buying a real Christmas tree

Head of trading and horticulture at Wyevale Garden Centres, Mark Sage, shares his advice on buying a real Christmas tree

A real Christmas tree from Wyevale Garden Centres adorned in warm lights and blue baubles in front of a dark blue panelled wall
1

Don’t wait until the last minute

There is no benefit in waiting right until the last minute to buy your Christmas tree as all live trees are cut at broadly the same time in the fields in late October/November. Choosing early means you have the widest choice available and can start caring for your tree, as soon as possible.

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2

Ceiling height considerations

Measure the space that you want your tree to go before purchasing as many people have no idea how high their ceiling is and get over ambitious when choosing their tree size. The stand will add an extra 6 inches and you don’t want to end up having to cut the top off which will compromise the shape of the tree.

3

Space and access

For city dwellers you need to consider space and accessibility when choosing your real tree. If you live in a terraced house or flat, consider how wide your doorways are and the staircases you might have to climb with your tree – you don’t want to have to drag a 6ft tree up ten floors. At Wyevale Garden Centres we have cultivated the more lightweight Swedish style of Nordman Fir, exclusive to us; you’ll find the lighter frame of this tree much easier to manoeuvre.

4

Bold is beautiful

Putting practicality to one side (as we often do at Christmas) if you live in a period townhouse then take advantage of your lovely high ceilings! Go bold on height, choosing a slim and tall tree will look striking without taking up all of the space in the room.

5

Buy from a centre that doesn’t sell pre-wrapped trees

Choosing a tree that isn’t pre-wrapped in netting allows you to really see the shape and ensure branches aren’t bent into an upwards position. Trees left in netting aren’t able to benefit from air circulation and begin to form a micro-climate. This means the tree begins to warm up, drop needles and decompose at a much quicker rate. All of Wyevale Garden Centres’ real trees are let out of their netting to breathe and are regularly misted to keep them in the best possible condition for longer.

6

Needle colour and retention

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. Mark Sage (Head of trading, horticulture) recommends you should stroke the tree to see if needles come off easily. If you’re concerned about needle-dropping choose a variety of tree such as the Nordman Fir, which is known to retain its needles. Wyevale Garden Centres offer a no-needle drop guarantee on our Nordman Fir trees – if a large amount of needles drop before Christmas, and you have followed our care tips, we will give you another one for free.

7

Stay fresher for longer

Keep your Christmas tree fresher for longer by chopping or sawing a few centimetres off the bottom and soaking it in a bucket of water outside, either overnight or for as long as possible, before bringing it inside.  Experts at your local Wyevale Garden Centre can show you the best way to do this, just ask!

 

8

Use a water retaining stand

For fresh cut trees a water retaining stand is absolutely essential. Even though the Christmas tree will have been cut in the field it is still living and will be breathing through its needles. In an average heated home a Christmas tree can take several litres of water a day and this is replaced through the trunk by keeping the water reservoir topped up with fresh water.

 Choose the right size stand for your tree

 

Avoid whittling the trunk of a tree to fit a stand. Always buy a bigger stand as whittling can remove the most active cells from the outside of the trunk and make the tree thirsty as a consequence.

 

 Caring for your tree

 

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.  A well-cared-for tree should normally remain fresh at least four to five weeks before drying to an unacceptable level.

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For more advice on buying a real tree from Wyevale Garden Centres, visit wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/real-christmas-trees