July 24, 2017

Choosing & Maintaining Your Christmas Tree

Fir things first! How do you keep a Christmas tree alive?

>>FYI – a Christmas tree is a living plant and needs water!<<

Read on to find out how to keep a cut Christmas tree alive and how to care for a potted or pot-grown Christmas tree.

How to keep a cut Christmas tree alive

Water the tree(!) The best tip for anyone who is looking to keep their cut Christmas tree alive is to think of it as you would a cut flower.

  • Cut the stem (straight and with a hand tool – fast power tools will burn the stem)
  • Water well
  • Keep watered

A good sign that your tree needs watering is the tree dropping needles.

How to care for a potted or pot-grown Christmas tree

As with the cut Christmas trees, monitor the health of your pot-grown or potted Christmas tree by the quantity of needles that drop. If you are watering well and the needles are still dropping, then it could be a very good idea to either turn down your heating or put the tree outside for a few days – fir trees are not actually indoor plants! Once you have finished with your tree indoors the best care for your potted or pot-grown tree is to plant it outside; your Christmas tree will not be happy to be permanently in a pot.

Pot-grown or potted Christmas tree – what is the difference?

Quite simply, a ‘pot-grown’ Christmas tree is a Christmas tree that has been grown in a pot, and a ‘potted’ Christmas tree is a Christmas tree that has been grown in the ground and transferred into a pot.

Potted or pot-grown Christmas tree – which one is best?

The answer really depends on the source of the Christmas tree itself. Purchase your Christmas tree from a reputable retailer or grower, and you shouldn’t have too many problems. If you can, it is always a good idea to knock the pot off and have a good look at the roots of the Christmas tree. If the Christmas tree has been grown in the ground, then you will see cut roots. This isn’t a problem if it has been lifted well. Be wary of purchasing a Christmas tree that has shredded roots. Likewise, with pot-grown trees, be wary of a root ball that looks compacted. Christmas trees with compacted roots may not have received all of the nutrients that it needed to grow well and may, in fact, be displaying stunted growth. As with all plant purchases: buy from a reputable source, care for the plant, and you should be fine.

No shredded roots indicates a pot grown tree. Notice the nicely spaced root ball.
No shredded roots indicates a pot grown tree. Notice the nicely spaced root ball.

Which Christmas tree should I buy?

There are two varieties of Christmas tree that are the most popular in the UK.

  • Nordmann Fir – Abies Nordmanniana

Nordman Fir
Nordman Fir

The Nordmann is well know for keeping its needles and can attract quite the premium price. These Christmas trees are often sold as ‘netted’ trees. This is great if you are looking to quickly pick up a Christmas tree, but one of the issues with Nordmanns is that they can be bottom-heavy with a skinny top. If you can, it’s always a good idea to remove the net and have a look at the tree. If this is not possible, then good general advice is to pick a netted tree that looks compact throughout its height.

 

 

  • Norway Spruce – Picea abies

Norway Spruce
Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce is the Christmas tree most commonly sold in the UK, and it grows well in our climate. While a popular tree, the Norway Spruce is prone to heavy needle drop when it is not happy. 

Enjoy your Christmas tree!

About The Author

Profile photo of CarlV

Freelance Journalist. With a love of the great outdoors

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  1. Pingback: Choosing & Maintaining Your Christmas Tree – Goto 4 Gardening

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