Do you know your spruces from your firs?
Here are some of the ways you can pick and maintain the perfect Christmas tree.
Garden experts at BillyOh.com have compiled a list of top tips to help you choose the right Christmas tree and keep it looking fresh and healthy throughout the festive season.
They recommend knowing the difference between the types of tree, picking the right size and testing the tree for freshness before you buy.
A spokesman said: “Nothing beats the look and gorgeous scent of a real Christmas tree but in order to pick the very best for your home, there are a few things to look out for.
“Knowing the difference between the type of trees available is important to ensure you pick the one best suited to you. It’s always worth taking a tape measure along when you buy so the tree isn’t too big or too small.
“Picking a good tree stand, watering regularly and placing away from direct heat are great tips for maintaining the tree throughout the festive period.”
Here’s 12 top tips:
1. Know what kind of tree you want
Each tree species is a little different, so make sure you know the difference between a spruce and a fir. A pine or fir tree has softer needles than a spruce. Similarly, trees with shorter needles are easier to decorate than others, as they offer more space between branches and have stronger stems to hold ornaments.
2. Be prepared
Take a tape measure and thick gloves to protect your hands when you go tree shopping. Take an old blanket to lay in the back of the car to catch stray needles and some rope or twine to tie your tree securely to the vehicle.
3. Testing your tree
Once you’ve found a tree you like, test its freshness. Bend a needle in half – a fresh fir will snap and a pine and will bend but not break.
4. Buy your tree at the right time
If you’re looking to buy a tree at the beginning of December, avoid Norway spruces as their needles drop early. Spruces usually last around 12 days, so will be a good option for those looking to put a tree up closer to Christmas.
5. Decide where to place the tree
Avoid placing your tree near sunny windows, radiators, heating vents and fireplaces. Try to keep the tree out of busy areas where it might be bumped or brushed against, or where someone could trip on light cords.
6. Measure … and then measure again
Before you leave home to pick your tree, measure both your ceiling height, the width of the space where your tree will live, plus the height of your Christmas tree stand so you don’t have to recut the tree when you get it home.
7. Pick a quality tree stand
Choose a tree stand that is sturdy and a good size and remember that the taller your tree, the bigger diameter of the trunk. Look for tree stand models that hold lots of water and is easily adjustable, so the tree can be levelled out.
8. Make a fresh cut
Once you get home, cut off at least half an inch from the bottom of the trunk so the tree will begin to soak up water immediately.
9. Make sure the tree is securely in the stand
To keep loose needles from messing up your floor, you may want to get your tree in its stand outdoors. Tip the tree on its side and tighten the levelling clamps of the stand around the base of the trunk. Lift the tree to a standing position, being careful not to damage the feet of the tree stand, before carrying your tree into the room.
10. Protect your floor
Place a waterproof covering on the floor – this will protect carpets and hardwood flooring against watermarks.
11. Trim any rogue branches
If any of the lower branches look straggly or hit the furniture or walls, simply trim them off. Try to trim at an angle that is about parallel to the floor, so cuts are less noticeable. You can then use these extra boughs and branches to decorate your fireplace, stair bannister or dining table – just keep them in water until you arrange them.
12. Maintain your tree’s moisture
To keep your Christmas tree alive and healthy, keep the water in your tree stand filled all the time. You may need to add water two or even three times over the first few days, and remember to check the water level every single day – set a reminder on your phone if it will help. After about a week the water intake will slow down and daily refills won’t be as necessary.