Top tips for choosing the perfect Christmas tree

[Christmas tree]

[Christmas tree] - Credit: Archant

Choosing a real Christmas tree is a special occasion – the fresh pine scent, the unique shapes and the tradition of involving the whole family.

Colin Dale, Notcutts

Colin Dale, Notcutts - Credit: Archant

Colin Dale, head of plants at Notcutts’ 18 garden centres nationwide, said: “The tree is always the star of the show at Christmas so it’s important to find the right one and to keep it looking great into the New Year.”

Colin shares his top tips to help people find the perfect real tree this Christmas:

Choose a healthy tree

A fresh, healthy, well-hydrated tree will have moist and supple needles, a glorious scent and will have a rich colour with minimal brown branches or needles. The odd needle drop is natural but avoid any trees that are dropping copious amounts with a gentle stroke of its branches.

Find the right space for your tree

The survival of your Christmas tree will depend on where you put it in your home. Make sure you keep your tree away from radiators and fireplaces. Think about positioning near a plug socket for your tree lights, and somewhere where the branches won’t be knocked about too much.

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Measure up first

Once you’ve found the perfect space for your tree in your home, measure the width, depth and ceiling height and don’t forget to factor-in the height of your tree stand and your decorative topper too. Give your tree plenty of room so its branches hang freely and you can decorate all around.

When you find your tree, measure it as it stands upright. Walk around the whole tree and visualise how the shape will fit your home.

Prepare your tree

Once your tree is safely home, use a handsaw to cut a 1-2cm slice off the bottom of your tree trunk for better water absorption.

The tree base needs to be fresh when you place it in its stand. Use a sturdy stand with a water container, then fill the water container as soon as the tree is secured. Top up the water a little each day to keep it hydrated and healthy.

Ten years in the growing

For over 30 years, all Notcutts Christmas trees have come from Inverness or central Scotland. It takes 10 years to grow and develop a beautiful tree, making sure it has plenty of space to control weeds and to shape and prune. Each tree is quality checked and for every tree that is cut, two or three new trees are planted in its place. The Notcutts Christmas tree farm is environmentally friendly, absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting enough daily oxygen for 18 people per acre.

There’s a wide range of Christmas tree varieties, but some are better at lasting the season than others. The Nordmann Fir is by far the best seller at Notcutts, favoured for its rich green foliage and soft needles. The hardy species is grown in the Scottish Highlands, benefitting from ideal, frosty weather conditions for producing a minimal needle drop once cut. Earlier this year we were thrilled to see the trees received a double frost, so their needles will hold even better!

Another festive favourite is the traditional Norway Spruce – a good value-for-money option with light green foliage and short, sharp needles.

If you’re looking for a potted tree, I recommend the Fraser Fir with its soft, greyish needles and a beautiful scent. The Fraser Fir is sold at Notcutts as a hardy pot-grown species, which can be replanted in the garden after the Christmas season has finished.

The size and shape of your tree is down to personal choice, but our 5ft to 6ft (1.5m to 1.8m) are the most popular tree sizes and suit most homes.

For every Notcutts tree sold, two or three new ones are planted. When you purchase a tree, the team will net and bag it for you to preserve the tree, and your car boot, as you take it safely home.

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