Christmas TreeAre you thinking of buying a real Christmas tree this year? There is something very festive about going out and picking a real tree, spinning it around to check that it has a nice shape, with lots of lovely pine smelling branches!

A Real Tree

You can buy a real tree in a number of ways, cut off to place in a stand at home. Cut and attached to a wooden base, or fresh in a pot. Whichever you choose, you want to ensure you have a fresh tree.

It should look a lovely bright green colour.

If you give it a gentle shake, no excess of pine needles should drop off.

It shouldn’t have a bare trunk or branches.

If it is potted, inspect the root ball – to make sure it is not too dry or compacted.

Caring for the Christmas Tree

To ensure that the tree lasts through the festive season, it will need watering. Ideally place the tree somewhere warm and dry, but not directly next to a radiator or fire.

If you bought a potted tree, you can plant it out into the garden after Christmas, or place it in a new bigger pot with plenty of drainage and fresh soil for added nutrients.

If a fresh tree is disposed of properly, then it can be an environmentally sound choice, as it will have a smaller carbon foot-print than a plastic tree. A living tree stores carbon as it grows, what you don’t want to do is send it off to land-fill, where it would just decompose and let off methane gases. You can burn the tree (if you have the means to do this safely), or chop it up and use it as mulch for the garden. www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/christmas-trees-1

Artificial Trees

The disadvantages to a faux tree, is that they are made from plastic, cannot be recycled and take a lot of carbon emissions to be produced. However, for many families they will be a good option. If you have a small space, want several trees, have pets or small children – then they are ideal. If you purchase the best tree you can afford, and then use it for at least 10-years, it will probably have a similar environmental footprint as having and burning a real tree for the same time period.

Some Christmas Tree Varieties – and why to choose them

Blue Spruce – Great for smaller spaces, with a lovely blue tinged colour. Strong branches, so holds heavier ornaments.

Fraser Fir – More popular in the USA, but liked for its pyramid shape, dark needles and silver colour undergrowth.

Lodgepole Pine – A traditional tree, great for not losing its needles! Lighter green/yellow colour.

Nordmann Fir – Although Russian, it’s actually the UK’s most popular Christmas tree variety. It’s very symmetrical, with branches that are strong, but spaced out enough to hold decorations.