Unlike many outlets who begin the build up to Christmas in September, we start on the 1st December, and Christmas tree sales are already going well. The one thing we refuse to sell are artificial Christmas trees because, contrary to popular belief, they are extremely environmentally unfriendly. The manufacturing process is highly polluting and wasteful of diminishing natural resources (oil), and at the end of their life their disposal causes further pollution.
On the other hand, a real tree is very good for the environment. We all know the benefit of trees on the atmosphere, and more Christmas trees are planted each year than are harvested, leading to a very healthy situation. In addition, we offer a free tree disposal facility - as do many Local Authorities - and the resulting chippings can be used as mulch or composting.
There is nothing nicer than the fragrance of a real tree in your room, and if cared for it will see you through the holiday with little mess or fuss.
Although itís wise to chose your tree as early as possible to avoid disappointment, do resist the temptation to bring it in too early. On the lawn or in the garage in a bucket of water is ideal, and when indoors, a rooted tree is best in a bucket or pot filled with sand or soil, and a cut tree in a purpose built stand which allows the base to sit in a bowl of water. Itís a good idea to cut about 1Ē from the base because the sap Ďhealsí over the initial cut, and then it is more able to drink. Try to keep the tree away from radiators and add water every day. The choice of trees gets wider every year but this is my guide to the more common varieties:-
Norway Spruce - This is the traditional Christmas tree and we grow these ourselves. They are the cheapest and have a reputation for loosing their needles but if cared for will provide a very attractive and economical tree - available cut or rooted.
Blue Spruce - Slightly better needle retaining properties, very attractive and aromatic, available cut or rooted.
Nordmann or Noble Fir - These have the best needle retaining properties of all but still benefit from watering. They are quite often imported, are slow growing and consequently more expensive, and because they have a long tap root are only available as cut trees.
If you want to try to plant your tree in the garden after Christmas then watering is even more important, and avoid putting it straight outside from a warm room, acclimatise it in the garage for a week first. Avoid frosty weather when planting, use a good quality compost and water well in windy or hot weather for at least the first two years. Small trees are more likely to establish than larger trees, and at best the chances of survival are no more than 50%
Enjoy your tree and the holiday, and as the new year is the ideal time for planting field grown, bare root stock, I shall be discussing trees, hedging, roses and fruit next month so any questions send us an e-mail.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Gardening New Year from all at the Plant Place and Garden Fixers.