Leigh Clapp looks into buying local, sustainably-grown Christmas trees and offers advice for choosing the best varieties
Choosing a real tree to decorate is one of the joys of Christmas and it is good to know that we can buy them locally, from sustainable sources, here in Hampshire. Every year more than seven million trees are sold in the UK. Although many are grown in Europe, more and more are being grown at sites in this country, with the number increasing each year.The reluctance to spoil woodlands and the need for high-quality trees has led to designated tree plantations. These are also wonderful havens for wildlife and as trees are harvested, more are planted. Another advantage is that real trees absorb carbon dioxide while growing and release oxygen into the atmosphere.It makes environmental sense to buy from a renewable source and reduce the transport mileage. Some growers sell directly to customers, as well as to local retailers such as garden centres and farm shops. Look for the British Christmas Tree Grower’s Association label to indicate that it was grown in the UK or visit a site and choose your own.
Meet some growersAt Burcot Farm in East Stratton you can buy freshly cut Nordmann fir Christmas trees, known for their needle retention and symmetrical shape. “We supply around 60,000 trees across the country as well as selling some at the farm. They are grown on 18 hectares in an eight to 10-year cycle. The average, popular size is 1.75 to 2 metres and we grade the trees and label each with coloured tags for easy identification by mid September, ready for sale,” explains Estate Manager, Bill Welling. On a smaller scale, Andrew and Caroline Dingley grow Norway Spruce and Nordmann Fir at Priors Farm in Mattingley on around five acres. From the first weekend of December they are kept busy selling them from the barn. “The Nordmann Fir is popular for its thicker needles and the Norway Spruce for its traditional pine scent,” comments Andy.
Find your treeBurcot Farm, East StrattonBetween East Stratton and Northington crossroadsOpen daily from December 1Tel. 01962 774432Nordmann Fir displayed in an indoor wood.Nordmann and Noble Fir wreaths, stands and decorations.
Dingleys Christmas TreesCorner of B3349 and West Green Road, MattingleyOpen daily from first weekend in December.Tel. 01256 767039 or 07768686567Nordmann Fir, Norway Spruce trees, stands, fresh holly wreaths and decorations.