How to look after your Christmas tree and get the best out of
Looking after Christmas Trees - or at least the ones without roots on - is a
a little bit like looking after cut-flowers. If you don't provide them with
water, then they will wilt. In the case of the Christmas Tree, this usually
takes the form of Needle Drop! So, this is how you should be looking after your
Most people will know about crushing the cut stems of cut flowers to
enable them to take in water. In the case of the Christmas Tree,
crushing the stem is out of the question, but we are all aware of the
sticky resin that can exude from conifer stems.
In the case of the Christmas tree, this will
harden at the cut off end making it even more
difficult for the tree to take in moisture.
So make sure that you cut off around 50mm (2 inches) of the stem, to give a new
start to the tree and enable it to take in moisture to see it through its two or
three weeks of totally alien surroundings. (Indoors, usually near a radiator,
and draped with Christmas Fairy lights that give off a lot more heat than we
realise. Just imagine having a 'necklace' of those lights if you have been used
to cool living conditions.
Looking after your Christmas Tree - A few hints.
- Do not bring your Christmas tree indoors until you really have
- The tree - like cut flowers - will need to be placed in a
container with its stump in water. There are many Christmas Tree
stands that do this job quite well. The other option is to place the
tree in a waterproof bucket, and wedged in with old newspapers and
large stones to make sure that it is secure. Make sure that the tree
is NOT too heavy at the top for the container!
- Throughout the period indoors, make sure that the tree is well
watered, but DO TAKE CARE if there are electric lights on the tree
- and also be careful not to splash the plug socket - often near the
tree - when watering. Keep the your Christmas Tree as far away from
radiators that you can.
Types of Christmas Trees include...........
- The Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris. A s a young tree this
is totally different to the older majestic pines that are seen
throughout the UK. If grown as a Christmas Tree, the grower will
normally clip the foliage on whilst in the growing stage to get it
to branch out and form a well shaped densely-foliaged Christmas
Tree. Even as an unclipped tree, this is a good tree for the larger
room. It holds its needles very well. Out of the UK grown Christmas
Trees, this is one of the better.
- The Nordmann Fir - Abies Nordmanniana. One of the
most popular of all Christmas trees with its silvery foliage. A good
specimen will grace any living room and keep its needles well. It is
not always well-shaped - sometimes a big bottom and lanky top. Often
sold as a 'netted' tree. Best to unwrap it if possible, or have a
feel inside the net at the middle and top of the tree to ensure that
you are not being sold a long stalk wiith a few branches at the top.
- The Norway Spruce - Picea abies. This is the most common
of Christmas trees with its mid to dark green foliage that is
normally well spread out on a well grown tree. It tends to be to
warm in UK to grow this tree really well - unless pruned in the
growing seasons. It can end up as a long stem - devoid of branches
from midway up. It is not the best tree for needle retention, and
whilst popular, it is probably the main cause of people transferring
allegiance over to the artificial options. The best specimens I have
seen have been imported from Belgium where they have been grown in
the Ardennes area.
- Blue Spruce
- Picea pungens 'Glauca'. Normally sold as a garden ornamental in
its many superb forms - see the foliage image above. If you get one
of these, try to get it as a pot-grown specimen, so that you can
plant it out in the garden afterwards.
- Dwarf Christmas Tree or Table Top tree. This is normally
the perfectly conical Picea albertina 'Conica'. A perfect specimen
for a tabletop decoration. If planted out afterwards, keep an eye
out for red spider infestation.
- Artificial Christmas Trees - Assorted. As with silk
flowers, the artificial Christmas Tree is now a serious contender
for a place in the lounge - or outdoors. They are superb, need no
caring for, and can be used year after year with no mess. I
understand that one enterprising Chinese manufacturer is supplying
trees that have a needle drop function built into them. :-)