If, like many, you are considering putting up the Christmas decorations early this year, you may be worried about your Christmas tree going the distance to still look lovely come 25 December.
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Gardening expert Samantha Jones from MyJobQuote outlines the ultimate steps for ensuring your tree looks picture-perfect for the whole festive season. Read on to get the lowdown…
1. Know when to purchase your Christmas tree
As you may have guessed, the earlier you get a real Christmas tree, the more effort is required to keep it looking fresh until the big day. Generally, you should aim to buy your Christmas tree a week into December, so it doesn’t dry out throughout the festive season. For low drop trees like Nordmann firs, you can purchase them up to 4 weeks before Christmas, but for European spruce trees, get them mid-December as they tend to dry up faster.
Would you keep your Christmas tree outside?
2. Keep your Christmas tree outside
If you're in full on Christmas mode already, and can't wait to buy your tree, you can prolong its life by keeping it outside for a few weeks first. Your Christmas tree will be the most familiar with outdoor conditions and minimising the time your Christmas tree spends indoors will help it stay perky. If you have the space, perhaps keep your decorated tree outside and add some festive pazazz to the exterior of your home early December. Then, bring it inside 1-2 weeks before Christmas so you can enjoy the healthiest looking tree for Christmas Day.
Folding paper tree skirt, £10, Dunelm
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3. Wrap the tree for the trip home
After spending money on a real Christmas tree, it would be a shame if it got damaged on the journey home. Most Christmas trees are transported home via the top of a vehicle, but unfortunately, this can leave your Christmas tree exposed to harsh winds when driving, which can dry the tree out. Trees often come wrapped in netting, which allows for some protection and easier transportation. However, if you can, wrap the tree in an old blanket before securing it onto a roof rack this will offer the best protection.
4. Trim the Christmas tree trunk
The first step to ensuring your Christmas tree stays alive for as long as possible is to trim the tree trunk. Like when you cut flowers, you want the freshest wood at the bottom of the tree so it can absorb more water and preserve the freshness of the tree. Cut ½ an inch off from the bottom of the trunk with a saw, ensuring you are cutting straight. A worthy investment is purchasing a Christmas tree stand with a built-in water reservoir to keep your tree standing straight, as well as holding enough water to keep it fresh.
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Krinner classic standard Christmas tree stand, £35, Homebase
5. Think about where you place your Christmas tree
As previously mentioned, trees are used to the great outdoors so a warm and cosy room may not be the best idea. Christmas trees do not like heat, so it is recommended to keep them in the coolest room such as a conservatory. Make sure your Christmas tree is not placed by any direct heat sources like a radiator, fireplace or direct sunlight which can make the tree fade faster. Alongside temperature, consider other factors such as children and pounce prone pets, who might accidentally damage the tree (and themselves) by pulling on it.
Christmas trees are better in cooler rooms
6. Water your Christmas tree often
The scent of a real Christmas tree is often the sole reason people purchase this over a fake tree. For the freshest smells that linger throughout your home, check the stand daily for water levels. A well-watered tree will allow it to ‘breathe’ and circulate the beautiful smells around your home better. Despite popular belief, the temperature of the water or drilling holes at the bottom of your tree don’t help with water retention so you can skip these steps!
7. Look out for dropped needles
A floor covered in dropped needles is never a good sign, as they signal tree decay. Other signs to look out for include dried brittle branches or a lack of smell (unless it is a Nordmann fir which doesn’t have a distinctive scent!). If you notice any of these, check the water levels of your reservoir immediately. You can also experiment with adding tree-preserving solutions, homemade or otherwise, but clean and fresh water is best.
Prolong Christmas tree kit, £12.07, Etsy
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