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Real Christmas trees

Caring for your Christmas tree
There’s something magical about selecting a real Christmas tree to sit pride of place in the heart of your festive home - the tradition of the inevitable squabble between parents and children about whether it’s big enough, the fun of pushing it through that fangled netting contraption before proudly carting it home, and the pleasure of tugging the net away and watching your tree slowly unfurl its pine branches – but then you need to try and keep it in its prime. We look at how to care for your tree…

Watering
Often dividing real Christmas tree owners out there, watering your tree is actually an effective way to keep it looking fresh and minimising needle dropping. Traditional Christmas tree stands are often fashioned like a clamping device to keep the tree upright, but your tree is a living plant that needs all the care of one. If you head to your local garden centre and invest in a reservoir-type stand, you can keep it topped up with water on a daily basis.

Sawing the stump
After removing your chosen tree’s netting, make sure you remove around a ½-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting your tree in the stand. A fresh exposure to water improves liquid intake, and sawing off a jagged trunk can even out the base to make sure it stands upright.

Electrics
Bedecking your tree in as many twinkling fairy lights as physically possible is tempting, but be sure that when you leave the room or head to bed, you don’t leave the room aglow and have turned off the lights at the plug. Remember that these lights are made up of electrical circuits, and when combined with dry wood, your Christmas tree becomes a hazard. What’s more, the tree can easily dry out by the warmth of big glowing bulbs, only resulting in needles dropping at a faster rate. Look out for miniature lights, and keep your tree away from an open fire or radiators to keep it cool and fresh.

Tree recycling
January 6th marks the sad day when discarded trees accumulate by the curb side, waiting to be collected. Remember that they are biodegradable, which means that when the day comes to part ways, they can be picked up, reused or recycled and turned into mulch. Read up on your local recycling provider to see if they’ll pick your tree up on the curb. Alternatively, take your old tree along to a drop-off recycling centre, or cut your tree up loosely to use in your garden. Sawing your tree to use for logs on the fire isn’t advised as the sap from trees can flare up and the type of wood can cause build up within chimney walls.

Top 5 real Christmas trees

Norway Spruce
This beloved tree has long worn the crown for most popular, with the Norway Spruce a popular choice of fir among Victorians. Favoured for its bushy appearance and strong pine scent, the Norway Spruce is a reliable option, but it is known for being spikey to the touch and also drops its pine needles at an alarming rate. If you’re on the quest for a tree that omits a festive scent, this is the fir for you, but be sure to keep it watered regularly and as cool as possible by keeping away from radiators and open fires.

Nordmann Fir
This species of Christmas tree has boomed in popularity in recent years, favoured for being a non-drop variety of fir that means its relatively easy maintenance. The Nordmann Fir’s pine needles are thick and waxy, and braches unfurl in a pleasing way for that classic cone-shape of tree. The tree doesn’t release that sappy pine smell, but needles aren’t sharp to the touch like the Norway Spruce, making it a child-friendly option. For this you can expect to pay a higher price.

Blue spruce
Named as such for its slight blue-grey tint, this type of tree is popular in homes on the Continent. The blue spruce is good at holding its needles and has a full and bushy appearance with solid branches that can hold the weight of all those decorations. Regular watering is required for the tree and it tends not to drop its needles, but they are stiff and sharp making it not the best for inquisitive little ones.

Serbian spruce
This variety is similar to its spruce sibling, the Norway spruce, but better at holding onto its needles. The Serbian variety has dense branches and a long, thin and narrow shape meaning it conveniently doesn’t overrun and take up too much of your lounge. It’s known for its two-tone colour with bright green and a hazy blue-grey, giving it a wintry look almost as if covered with a thin layer of snow. Its typically grown in cold climates and so likes chillier temperatures, so keep away from the radiator to see it at its best.

Fraser fir
The favoured choice of tree in America, the Fraser fir is long and narrow in shape and is broad and bushy, giving it the ultimate classic Christmas tree appearance. Its branches point slightly upward so it’s ideal for hanging decorations, and colour-wise, it exhibits a misty dark blue and silvery hue which adds to the overall festive look. The tree also omits a pleasant natural fragrance and has a high needle retention.