Caring for your Real Christmas treeDate Posted: 11 December 2019
Caring for your Real Christmas tree
...Keep your home festive with the perfect Christmas tree
It’s that time of year again, when we totally confuse our pets by having a a tree in the house. Is it any wonder that they spend so much time trying to get up it!
Well in order to get to that stage of entertainment, there are a few tips before you buy your perfect tree.
Take measurements:The most important thing about your Chrismas tree is that it fits perfectly inside your home! Write down the measurements before purchase and take them with you to the nursery or Christmas tree farm, so you can be sure to choose the right tree for you.
Trees should be fresh:
If a tree has a lot of needle loss or dead needles and brittle branches, then do not buy it. To test for freshness. Run your hands along the branches; no needles will fall from a healthy tree. Try bending a needle between your fingers; it should bend into a ‘U’ but not break. Lastly, and slightly alarmingly, drop your tree onto its base from roughly one foot above the ground. Again no needles should fall off.
Ask the seller to ‘net’ your tree:
A net protects the tree and makes your life easier to transport. If possible, transport your tree inside the car without the heating on. Avoid putting the tree on a car roof if possible, they don’t like being exposed to high winds. So if unavoidable - top of tree goes at the back, trunk at the front and don’t take the motorway or speed!
Trimming the base and watering:
Like cut flowers, sap will collect at the stem end and prevent water absorption so when you are ready to bring your tree into the house, take off the netting and cut one inch off the bottom to aid water absorption. Your tree may absorb up to 4 litres of water in the first day so use a large bucket to keep it in. Thereafter it could absorb a litre a day. Keep the water level above the base of the tree at all times; if it drops below for more than 5 hours you will need to cut off another inch of trunk. If the water starts to smell it probably needs replacing or topping up. Never add anything to the water; water is the best thing for the tree.
Many trees can be supplied with root balls to allow you to plant them out after Christmas. And what a lovely way to cherish the memories...watch it grow along with your children! If you opt for a rootballed tree, water the rootball well and allow to drain for 24 hours before wrapping rootball in plastic to preserve moisture. To give your rootballed tree the best chance of survival, do not keep the tree in the house for more than 10 days as it will get used to the warmth and may not survive being planted out!
No matter your choice, make sure the tree is securely in it’s pot. Never chop the sides of the trunk to make it fit the stand as this is where the majority of water is absorbed. Two people should set the tree up; one to ensure it is straight and one to secure the base. Position your tree away from a fireplace or radiator and, if possible, near a socket for the lights. Once done, let the tree ‘settle’ for a few hours before decorating.
Now the fun begins:
Decorate your tree with all your favourite baubles and momentoes. For safety sake remember to keep extra fragile or small items higher on the tree than pets or young children can reach. Use energy efficient LED lights as these remain cool and are less of a fire risk.
You may need to hoover around the tree every few day, as even the best fresh trees will lose a few needles. Don’t let them accumulate as they will be hazardous to children and pets. Check for sap leakage on nearby fabrics and furniture.
Disposing of your tree:
It’s sad but the trees have to go! If you can plant out your rootballed tree, find a suitable place out of the wind but with good sun and water well after planting. Bear in mind that a tree can grow up to 50-60ft high over 20 years!
Cut trees can be useful in your garden. Prop them up near bird feeders and they will act as a haven and play ground for finches and robins. Hang bits of apple and fruit and this will help both birds and animals with feeding through the remaining cold months. After some time they can be chopped for mulch.
If you have access to a large lake, ask the owners for permission to dispose of your tree there, where it will provide a mass of hiding places for fish and water based creatures. For safety sake don’t burn parts of your tree on the fire as the needles will spit out.
Keep an eye on our Instagram @herbertrthomas for more of our 12 days of Christmas and start getting your home Christmas-ready!
Don’t forget to share your photos with us using #HRTChristmas and you never know, we might feature your home on our story!