Christmas trees. The Decision…

It’s nearly December. The John Lewis advert has been on and everyone has shed a slight tear. Anything and everything gets over commercialised and the true meaning of Christmas is overdressed with buy this and buy that marketing from various companies cashing in on the season. Oh and then there is the Christmas tree. Real or fake? The family debate rocks up every year on what type to have. Children shouting I want that one whilst their parents eyes avoid the tag price.

From previously working with Real Christmas trees for over five years, I’ve seen it all. Theft, arguing and tree mix ups. The delivery of 1000s of trees, the broken pallets, the un-netting, the grading, individual pricing. The customer determined to fit a four inch stump into a three inch stand. All this in a six week period. Joy! Well, with my experience in working with real trees I hope this information helps you out when thinking about buying yours.

Question 1:

It’s a Christmas tree. It doesn’t mater what type, it’s a tree?

The answer is no. The types of tree are all different!

Whether it’s a garden centre, D.I.Y store or market there are bound to be many options available to buy. Here are some of the varieties you are most likely to encounter:

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

The traditional tree used for town centre displays. It has mid to dark green needles that are sharp to touch. This tree generally will give a rash if you get spiked by the needles. Many years of offloading this type of tree and even with gloves, they sure get you and it is especially noticable when you have a bath! Due to this they are not the greatest tree to buy if you have sensitive skin.

Another fact is this tree drops its needles significantly and really is better for outside displays rather than indoors. You might hang on a bauble and all you get is a shower of needles on the carpet. For this reason if you have pets avoid this tree at all costs. Price wise it is generally the cheapest but the reasons above justify. Beware of low needle drop sprays, they don’t work and are a waste of money. It’s just like hairspray and holds the needles on.


Another form similar to this is the Serbian Spuce (Picea omorika). This variety has the same attributes of the above but with a needle slightly more silvery underneath.



Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana)

This tree is marketed as having a low needle drop tolerance which is true and therefore is the choice if you have pets. It is generally the more pricier of trees, having softer foliage with a silvery underside. The branches are much denser and tend to be quite wide, holding bigger decorations better. Personally I like the tree but I think like most things, are totally overpriced for what they are worth.



Noble Fir (Abies procera)

Another low needle drop tree with beautiful silvery foliage and a lovely scent. An expensive exquisite tree. The branches are widely spaced and triangular in shape. As a result, it is not a dense tree and will need a large space to show it off due to its wide skirt of a base.



Question 2:

I’ll wait until nearer Christmas. Later must mean it will be fresher?

The answer is no. All trees have been cut at the same time, unless you cut it yourself!

Yes that’s right . All trees that you see for sale in the general retail world, unless from a locally sourced cut yourself grower, have generally been cut since early November. Sourced from countries like Denmark they are shipped over in bulk on one off orders. By the time they hit the shelves they have been cut a few weeks already. ‘Fresh’ brings on a whole new meaning now. The longer you leave it, the chances are you’ll be left with a very poor choice. Many retailers keep the trees netted which is a bad thing to do. The netting makes the tree sweat and its needles will drop faster.

As a general rule of thumb with all trees, cut a few inches of the stump and put it in water outside until it’s ready to come indoors. Once inside, place it in a stand that holds water, regularly top up and keep away from radiators and heat sources.

Question 3:

I want a tree with roots so I’ll buy a potted tree then, no?

No, potted trees are the wrong choice!

Want a tree to last? Want it to have roots? You will need to buy a pot grown tree!

Ok the great misconception.. Trees in a pot have roots. Not always.

There are two methods of ‘growing’ trees in pots. One method is called containerised or  a potted tree. The other is method is called pot grown. The majority you will find will be potted and will not grow after Christmas.

Containerised or Potted trees
These trees have very little root. There are two types of root of the tree. The fat ones anchor the plant and the hair like ones take up the water and goodness. These trees have a few fat roots and hardly any hair like ones. Basically having no hair like roots the plants will die. To summerise, they are grown in a field and a machine chops of the roots underground. They are then stuffed in a pot with soil. Hardly living really, a bit pointless!

Pot/Container Grown trees
These plants will be generally smaller and more pricey as they have needed more care and maintenance than the ones growing in a field. However, these trees have a full root system and have the potential to grow in future years. This potential will only happen if:

The plants are watered regularly
They are acclimatised to the room temperature on their arrival
They are kept away from heat sources
They are acclimatised to the outdoor temperature on their return

Well thanks for reading. I hope it’s been of some use to you? Happy Christmas everybody and I hope that 2018 a brighter and happier year for all with lots of dreams and aspirations to be acheived.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. carrietxxxxx says:

    Very interesting facts there, thank you.Who knew the trees were all cut so early! One year,I bought a small Nordman tree in a pot (it was only 2 or 3 feet tall)over 10 years ago to use for that Christmas. After the season of several weeks in a centrally heated house it sat outside until I decided to plant it in the garden. It started showing signs of new fresh green growth. It’s now about 15 ft tall & a Niobe clematis & a golden hop scramble through it in summer. Now I could put outdoor lights on it & have a festive display in the garden ! What a bargain that tree was!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly and Maureen Page says:

    Me and mum thankyou for your advice, mum has learnt something as she usually waited later to buy her tree thinking it would be fresher and later cut, but this year we are going to buy it earlier and leave outside longer in water once cutting a bit off the bottom, I am glad you have mentioned pets and people dont realise about needles and their pets, mum normally get nordmann fir and wondered does the weight of the tree make a difference with how much moisture they retain as some trees are lighter to pick up and mum was told the heavier is better as more moisture retained? catch up before Christmas x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. debbie says:

    thanks for your advice Rocky! I always think about getting a real one but as usual i expect the pld timer will bebrought down from the attic and live to see yet another christmas! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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