How to choose the perfect Christmas tree and take care of it

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
Do you know what to look out for when choosing a Christmas tree? [Photo: Getty]

It’s December and many of us are beginning to think about one of the most traditional emblems of the festive season – the Christmas tree.

But it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

With a mere few weeks left until the big day, when is the optimum time to purchase a fir? If you decorate it too early do you run the risk of hoovering endless piles of needles throughout the holidays?

And how can we make sure to keep the tree looking prim and proper until New Year?

When is the best time to buy a Christmas tree? [Photo: Getty]

Well, there’s no need to panic.

We’ve got the lowdown on how to tick off one of the most pressing jobs on your Christmas to-do list with ease this season…

When is the best time to purchase a Christmas tree?

Although it can be seriously tempting to decorate the tree in the first week of December, is it a wise decision?

According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) it’s perfectly fine to purchase your tree in the first week of December but bagging a tree in the middle of the season (approximately 11th December) will ensure your fir lasts.

What to look out for when choosing the perfect tree

With a breadth of garden centres, farms and supermarkets offering a plethora of beautiful trees this winter, how do you make sure you bag the best of the bunch?

  • Look for lush, dark-green branches densely packed with needles.
  • Choose an even and symmetrical triangle shape which isn’t too wide at the bottom. Remember though, that trees are often placed in corners or against walls so you might not even see one side of the tree.
  • Look for a good tiered structure so your decorations have room to hang. If the branches are too densely packed the baubles may crash against the branches below. But don’t forget you can always trim and shape your tree if you feel nature didn’t get it quite right.

And with recent reports that trees can host up to 25,000 insects, we’ll be making sure to thoroughly shake the fir before bringing it indoors. But it’s also crucial to shake the tree before getting out your pennies because if more than a handful of needles fall, then it’s a telltale sign that it’s not going to last the festive season.

How can we ensure our Christmas tree looks its best throughout the festive season?

“Christmas trees start to dry out as soon as they are cut,” John Schofield of Battersea Flower Station revealed. “The longer they stay outside in the cold the better they are. Cut trees that have never been inside can still look good way after Christmas!”

Top tips on looking after your Christmas tree:

  • Don’t take your tree inside too early. Keep it in the garden or on the balcony for a while if that’s an option.
  • Our homes are (hopefully) warm and dry and while it’s impractical to turn off the central heating in December, try not to place your tree right next to a radiator. We’ve seen trees dry our very quickly in rooms with underfloor heating.
  • Cut maybe half an inch off the base of your tree and let it stand in water. Try not to chip wood off the side of the trunk, as these outer layers take up the most water. If you’re not taking your tree inside straight away you can do this in a bucket in the garden. You can buy Christmas tree stands that can be filled with water and regularly topped up.

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