Tips for Choosing a Christmas Tree for the Garden
It’s hard to imagine Christmas without the symbol of the evergreen tree being brought indoors, but the aftermath image of brown, discarded trees lined up for disposal is not so appealing. So what’s the alternative?
Opting for a real, British-grown container tree that is brought into the house every year for the festive season is probably the most environmentally friendly option available. To ensure its survival, keep it outside for as long as possible before Christmas and inside for as short a time as possible. Once indoors, water it at least three times a week, stick to smaller lights that give off less heat and keep it away from direct contact with radiators. Be guided by the tree: if the needles become brown very quickly and it looks unhappy, take it into a cooler room. After Christmas, re-introduce it to the outside as slowly as possible so it doesn’t get a nasty shock. Being plunged into freezing temperatures straight after being pampered in a centrally heated festive home could result in death (of tree), so try to get it acclimatised first. If you plan to keep the tree in a container until next Christmas, plant it into a larger pot in the spring and top up with fresh compost. It will need watering in the summer months.
With its bright green pointed needles, the Norway spruce has until recently been the most popular choice of Christmas tree in this country, but these days about 80% of Christmas trees are Nordmann Fir, which, although more expensive, tend to hold their needles better. If you decide to buy a container-grown tree to plant directly into the garden soil after Christmas, check that the tree is suitable for your soil type. Most Christmas trees prefer acidic soil. Even if you do have the right type of soil, check the eventual spread of the tree. A Norway spruce, for example, can reach 25 metres in height – and doesn’t hang about too long doing that. If you have a postage stamp of a garden, you might quite quickly regret your green purchase!
So, whilst it is possible that a Christmas tree is not just for Christmas, just like the cute little Alsatian puppy dog, so easy to fall in love with in December, they can soon outgrow their space and quickly become a nuisance neighbour!