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The great Christmas tree debate

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 23rd November 2022, 09:00

While gardening magazines love to show outdoor havens rimmed with frost in their Christmas editions, it is getting less and less likely that we will have weather like that at this time of year – mild and soggy would probably describe it better!

The upside to this is that if it is not too wet, we can continue to work in our gardens, moving plants and shrubs around, putting in hedges, and preparing for the spring.

One of the most debated subjects at this time of the year is that of Christmas trees. I do like a real tree, although we have a fake one which we have used on various Christmases in the last 20 years. For example, if we have been going away and couldn’t justify the cost of a real tree when we’d only enjoy it for a few days.

As our fake tree has been used multiple times already and is there for future backup plans, I don’t feel bad about having bought it and the fact that I don’t think it will be recyclable.

If you would prefer a real tree, the best ones to get to make sure the needles don’t all end up on the carpet before Christmas Eve are Nordmann Fir trees, which actually almost look fake because they are so perfect! A less common option, but one which also has a lovely balsam scent, is the Fraser Spruce.

Check to see how fresh your chosen tree is

When you’re choosing your tree, bump the stump on the ground to see how many needles fall off – if there are only a few, that means it’s nice and fresh. When you get it home, leave it outside until you are ready to decorate it. Put it in the corner of a room where it is less likely to be knocked, and use a Christmas tree stand with a water reservoir in it.

As with cut flowers, cut a couple of inches off the trunk, as this will help it take up the water better. Eventually the water doesn’t go down at all, as the tree has stopped absorbing it. With flowers you could re-cut the stems, but it wouldn’t be practical with a tree. It will inevitably start to dry, but a good tree will easily last for a few weeks and see you through the festive period.

Don’t burn your tree when Christmas is over – instead get it shredded, either through the council schemes or your local garden centre. If you have a large garden, you could cut it into small chunks and leave it for wildlife to enjoy while it rots down into the ground. This is a good idea if you have a sheltered section in your garden – you wouldn’t want to just lay it on an open lawn.

Festive gardening gifts

If you’re on the hunt for a gift for the gardener in your life, vouchers from local nurseries or garden centres are always appreciated. Lovely plant labels, twine, indelible pens for marking, garden gloves and good-quality tools are useful presents. Of course, hand creams and bath soaks are always welcome gifts to help undo the toll on your loved one’s body from all their hours spent working outside!

Happy Christmas!

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