The introduction from Europe nearly 50 years ago of the Nordmann Fir has changed many peoples idea about real Christmas trees. Simply the Nordmann Fir is a needle holding tree. It also has ‘needles’ that are flat & soft.
The traditional real Christmas tree is the Norway Spruce. This has very sharp needles & as it dries out it sheds its needles. Many of us remember the shower of needles mulching the carpet all around the skeleton of the sad looking specimen that used to be a Christmas tree. Not only did these needles create a mess & a job to vacuum them up many needle sharp points stuck in the carpet & revealing themselves bare feet for months afterwards. They do smell nice though.
The secret with all cut trees is water. Basically, a cut Christmas tree is a wooden bunch of flowers. In the same way that you would expect to stand cut flowers in a vase of water, the same applies to real Christmas. trees. ALWAYS use a Christmas Tree stand that holds water
Choosing a tree.
Christmas trees arrive wrapped in netting. These are then usually unwrapped for you see the shape. Most modern Nordmann trees have been trimmed annually in the fields where they grow to make then thick & bushy. Nordmanns are quite sparse if not trimmed. This does add to the cost & Nordmann trees take longer to grow than Norway Spruce. Typically this might be as long as 12 years.
When choosing your tree you need to know that you can accommodate the hight PLUS the width. Trained trees are slimmer than untrained & pruned trees. It’s worth thinking where your tree will stand at home. It’s rare ina modern home for Christmas trees to stand in the centre of a hall where you can walk all the way around to admire it. Consequently, your tree will end up against a wall. This means if a tree is not a perfectly round tree it doesn’t matter at ‘the back’ wouldn’t be seen. You can, of course, trim off any branches that stick out behind the tree to make it fit.
When you arrive home
- Cut 25mm (1″) off the base. This allows water to be drawn up into the tree. Natural resins block these ‘pipes’. Removing a disk of wood solves the problem.
- Stand your tree in a bucket of water, outside for a few days before moving inside. This means a little time management on your part. Leave the tree in its net.
- Fit your Christmas tree stand to the tree outside before bringing it in still leaving the net on.
- Bring the tree indoors, with the stand fitted to the trunk, position & cut off the net. You will find a few needles fall off at this stage. This is normal. If your tree was still growing in a field it would naturally lose the needles that are six or more years old. These will fall from the very inner of the tree. Note when walking through an evergreen woodland that when you look up from under a forest sized conifer there aren’t any needles near to the trunk they are all on the outer edges.
- Fill the stand with water. top it up daily.
Potted Christmas Trees
This is a bit of a nightmare. There are:
- Trees lifted out of a field and potted,
- Trees grown in pots that are planted in a field
- Tree container grown above ground all their lives.
Trees lifted from the ground & potted will have had their roots severed trimmed (or hacked with a spade). This means all feeding roots are removed. These are the ones that absorb water from the soil. Without them water uptake is limited. They may or may not live after Christmas if planted in the garden.
Trees grown in pots then planted in the ground have the same problem. Roots will naturally grow through the drainage holes in the pots into the field soil. These are removed after lifting from the field. These are the feeding roots again. Life expectancy after Christmas – 50:50!
Trees grown in a pot all their lives are most likely to live after Christmas. These trees are always a lot more expensive as you are basically buying a properly grown garden plant. There is a problem when planting in the garden after Christmas if these trees have been indoors in central heating over the Christmas period. These trees need watering daily too. If not the tree may have dried out, died inside and as with most evergreens, they won’t show this until March or April.