Factors to Consider When Choosing a Christmas Tree
By Adam Woolcott
It’s such a joy going out and buying a Christmas tree. I personally love all the anticipation of decorating it and adding the lights and baubles, perhaps tinsel, ribbons and everything else. The choices are infinite and individual and that’s what makes your tree so special to you!
What Varieties of Christmas Trees Are Available?
As with everything in the modern world, there are always so many choices. Christmas trees are no different – you can buy an artificial tree, that may be green, black, white or even pink! Some have their lights pre-attached, some revolve and some are covered with artificial snow. On the other hand, there are real Christmas trees – some are pre-cut, some you choose yourself on a farm. There are even trees that are lifted with their roots intact so they can be replanted in your garden. These are ideal to use year after year.
Regarding a real Christmas tree, about 85% of us opt for the Nordmann Fir. Secondly, approximately 15% for the Norway Spruce – the type of tree you see every year in Trafalgar Square. There are other options such as Lodgepole Pine or the Douglas Fir, although these tend to be popular in the USA.
Are Artificial Christmas Trees Any Good?
Choosing an artificial Christmas Tree is pretty straightforward – it comes down to which style of artificial tree suits your taste. The benefit of an artificial option is that it will last for many years. Also, there are no problems with falling needles, no need to water it no need for disposal – you just store it until next year. They also provide benefits if you’re unable to get out to buy, and transport, a brand-new tree every year. A fresh tree year on end can also get pretty costly as time goes on. However, they aren’t typically environmentally friendly – and also don’t have the warming Christmas fragrance.
Choosing the Perfect Real Christmas Tree
Perhaps an artificial tree isn’t for you. Maybe you enjoy the experience of going out with loved ones every year to find the perfect tree. The thrill of finding the perfect, elegant shape and natural fragrance – a tradition since the 1800s. When choosing a pre-cut tree, it’s important to check the tree is fresh and not going to lose its needles before the big day! Give the tree a little shake and check that the needles don’t immediately drop. If they do, choose a different tree. If the tree is already wrapped in netting – remove it and check the branches hang in a nice, symmetrical way. When opting for a real tree, there are a few more challenges to face. Because your tree is living, it will need a water reservoir – and you’ll have to avoid heat sources such as radiators. As well as this, you’ll have to dispose of it. But don’t worry – there are plenty of options for this once the festive season is over.
Nordmann Fir vs Norwegian Spruce
As mentioned earlier, there are two main varieties of Christmas trees purchased in the UK. These are the Nordmann Fir and the Norwegian Spruce – both contributing to about 8 million sales every year. Nordmann firs has strong, wax-coated needles that don’t drop – as well as sturdy branches. These are perfect for supporting your decorations and making a perfect tree for Christmas. However, Norwegian Spruce is very fragrant – and can fill the home with the traditional festive scent. They are, however, much more likely to drop their needles – so there are reasons behind both.
Sustainable Splendor: Rooted Christmas Trees
Finally, there are the rooted Christmas trees – that have either been dug up that way or are pot-grown. These are far more likely to retain their needles as they’re able to stay healthy by drawing up water or nutrients. You can even replant the tree after Christmas and keep it outside until the following year. With this type of tree, you feel more invested and can even pass it down through the family or allow it to grow in the garden for a permanent Christmas tree.
At the end of the day, whichever tree you decide on – there’s plenty of options. Trees to suit all types of lifestyles, budgets or environmental considerations. Once the tree is in your home, the world’s your oyster; you’re free to decorate it exactly how you please.
Whether you go for a bold and brash approach, or you like it sophisticated and elegant, most importantly of all have a very merry and happy Christmas.
Adam Woolcott has over 30 years of experience as a professional gardener and has many accolades, but is probably best known for his four Gold Medals at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show and his three BBC/RHS People’s Choice Awards at the show (of which he is particularly proud) which he won as one half of Woolcott & Smith.