A Real Tree

Nothing beats a real tree at Christmas. The smell alone conjures up images of mince pies, Christmas stockings and Santa. It is the centrepiece of all your decorations, and no matter what your personal style or interior scheme you can’t beat a real tree, and with a real tree comes a little TLC – We caught up with Samuel Lyle, owner of Pines and Needles, who told us “despite Christmas trees being a long-standing tradition, millions of Britons are still unsure how to look after them.”

With this in mind we asked him to share his top tips with us:

Prepare the trunk - Just before you install your tree, saw off the bottom 1” (3cm) of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut. The tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action. We do this to all our trees so you don’t have to!

Keep it away from any heat sources – Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.

They need routine – Do not expose your tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees like most people are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.

Water your tree – Place your tree in plain water – not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially designed Christmas Tree Stand. Many precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas Tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones!

Then keep on watering it! – Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day, depending on its size and your central heating settings. This is very important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will re-seal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re-fill the Christmas tree stand.

Timing is everything – These trees are natural living things, and once they are cut they begin to die, sad as this is apart from artificial trees we are still without a solution to this simple fact of life. Time the arrival of your tree with this in mind to increase longevity and get the most out of it.

What About Decorating?

It may sound obvious, but two people are better than one if that’s possible – even if it’s just for the lights. Lights go on first and it’s great if one person can feed them to the other as they wind it round and round, starting at the bottom. Embed the lights in the lush greenery and then move out as you go up.

The heavier the decorations the more you’ll need to keep them away from the tips of the branches. Everyone has a different way of decorating but themes look good, whether that’s a colour or a certain style such as Scandi (sparse; red and white) or Victorian (wooden decorations, dried fruit, pine cones).

Tinsel has been dying out for a while but ribbon is en vogue but go horizontally rather than at an angle – it’s a much cleaner look.

Pines and Needles have a fabulous selection of real Christmas Trees, sustainably grown on their own Scottish Christmas Tree farms. You can take your pick from a range of Nordmann Fir, Non-Drop Christmas Trees or a more traditional and sweet-smelling Norway Spruce Tree, the choice is yours, there’s even artificial trees available for those who prefer not to have a real tree.

For more information, or to view trees, visit www.pinesandneedles.com

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