Whilst we are all familiar with the sight of fresh cut Christmas trees lined up ready for sale, have you ever given much thought to where these come from?
For Christmas tree farmers years of dedication and hard work go into producing the perfect centre piece for our homes on Christmas Day, infact the average 6ft tree takes between 6 and ten years to grow before being ready to harvest.
In the UK growers are hard at work all year round starting with ground prep, and removal of previous years stumps from January to March, then transplanting 2yr old saplings in spring, ( up to 4000 per acre!) into the fields. Fertilizing, weeding and shaping older trees happens through summer and finally harvesting of the mature trees ready for Christmas starts in late Autumn.
The shaping of the trees is crucial and cannot alone be left to mother nature to create the perfect spaces for your tinsel, a Norway spruce for example can be shaped at four years old by hand or shears, whilst a Nordmann fir must be a good year or so older before this process can begin, and the “leader” ( the bit we sit the fairy on) is mechanically controlled to restrict its growth. The trees require protection from pests, such as aphids and rabbits, but also from Badgers who like to dig out the roots.
Fashions for types of tree change over the years, which make it difficult for farmers to predict with planting so far in advance, and with around 6 million trees being sold in the UK each year, both home grown and imported this is no small concern. Indeed since a rise in favour of fresh trees in the 1980’S there has been something of a decline in the last decade, however some trees such as the Nordmann are continually increasing in popularity.
There are many different types of Fresh Christmas tree available in the UK, here are our Favourite 3 at Eastfield Garden Centre:
- Nordman Fir – A non needle dropping tree (with appropriate care) and glossy deep green foliage in the classic triangular shape.
- Norway Spruce – A narrower conical shape with drooping branches, easy to decorate and an excellent pine fragrance.
- Blue Spruce – Similar in shape to the Norway but with attractive silver /blue foliage, Good fragrance and needle retention with appropriate care.
When buying your Christmas Tree it is important to consider that your tree is a living thing, & needs looking after like any other plant.
We recommend the following Top Tips to keeping your tree fresh for the Christmas period:-
- Leave your tree in a cool place ( outside / garage etc) until you are ready to put it up.
- When placing your tree in a stand or bucket, cut 2cm off the base of the stump to allow moisture back into the tree.
- Always use a stand that can hold sufficient water, and place your tree away from direct heat sources such as fires or radiators.
- Top up daily with water, even a small tree can drink up to 2 litres of water a day!
Enjoy, and have a Very Happy Christmas.