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Lines of Christmas trees at sunrise

Forestry England’s guide to make your real Christmas tree last

To help spread joy, Christmas celebrations across the country have started early this year. Christmas trees and decorations are going up, boosting people’s moods, and bringing a bit of magic into people’s homes.

To beat the rush and crowds, people may be thinking about buying early this year. With Christmas trees being up longer, Forestry England’s Christmas tree expert Tanya Nesbitt-Rex has some expert tips to help you keep those pine needles looking and smelling fresh for longer.

1. Buy a top quality tree

If you want a Christmas centrepiece that can withstand more than a few weeks in your home, shopping with quality in mind is a priority.

See if there's a Forestry England seller near you for a quality home-grown tree, but if you have to go elsewhere - be sure to check the needles are flexible and green. Tough needles which snap when bent are a sign of a half-dead tree which won’t stand the test of time.

When checking the health of a tree you can also try tapping the cut end to the ground, a few falling needles is expected, but if lots fall off without much movement - it's time to find another!

2. Choose the right variety

Each tree species can be a little bit different in size, smell and how long they hold their needles, so it’s important to know what you are looking for.

If you appreciate the traditional look and smell of Christmas, then the Norway spruce could be for you. It offers fantastic value for money, has a magnificent scent that will make your home smell all Christmassy.

If you are looking for excellent needle retention and a wonderful natural shape, the soft dark needles of the Nordmann fir is a great choice. With really strong branches the tree is a real joy to decorate.

3. Give your trunk a trim

Once you get your tree home, saw half an inch off the trunk to rid of any hardened sap and then put straight into water. This will help the tree to absorb lots of water to stay fresh and green throughout your festivities.

4. Keep your tree watered

Make sure you choose a sturdy stand that can hold a good amount of liquid. Your Christmas tree needs to be kept in water at all times, so finding a base with a good well that you can access is important.

Check your tree’s water source every day, you'll be surprised just how thirsty they can be! Make sure the trunk is nicely submerged for happy and healthy needles.

5. Leave out the gimmicks

You might have been told that Coca-Cola or corn syrup in the base helps to keep your tree alive, or maybe the garden centre tried to send you home with special tree food?

Don’t fall for it! Your beautiful tree just wants a constant supply of fresh water, it's that simple.

6. Not too hot, not too cold

Your tree’s natural habitat at this time of year is out in the cold air, minimize the shock of the relocation and keep your tree happy by giving your tree some good distance from the radiator.

Constant heat or fluctuating temperatures can dry your tree out very quickly.

Check your tree’s water source every day, you'll be surprised just how thirsty they can be! Make sure the trunk is nicely submerged for happy and healthy needles.

5. Leave out the gimmicks

You might have been told that Coca-Cola or corn syrup in the base helps to keep your tree alive, or maybe the garden centre tried to send you home with special tree food?

Don’t fall for it! Your beautiful tree just wants a constant supply of fresh water, it's that simple.

6. Not too hot, not too cold

Your tree’s natural habitat at this time of year is out in the cold air, minimize the shock of the relocation and keep your tree happy by giving your tree some good distance from the radiator.

Constant heat or fluctuating temperatures can dry your tree out very quickly.

Forestry England offers high-quality real Christmas trees from the heart of the forest at Christmas tree sales centres across the country. All Forestry England trees are grown in the UK and certified by Grown in Britain, and all Norway spruce trees are certified by both Grown in Britain and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

As you might expect, the coronavirus guidelines mean some that our Christmas tree operations are running a little differently to normal. Our top priority is keeping you and others safe. Please check opening times of the Christmas tree sales centre before your visit, these may vary from the forest opening times.

To find your nearest sales centre and find more information visit www.forestryengland.uk/christmas

Notes to Editor

1. Photos can be downloaded here. Please credit: Forestry England/Crown Copyright

2. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 235 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.

3. Forestry England sells around Grown in Britain and potted Christmas trees across the country:

Christmas tree sale centres:

1. Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

2. Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

3. Hamsterley Forest, Durham

4. Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

5. Rothbury Forest, Northumberland

6. Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire

7. New Park Farm, Hampshire

8. Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset

9. Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

10. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

11. Grizedale Forest, Cumbria

Media Contact: Rebecca Ulewicz Media relations officer
e: Rebecca.ulewicz@forestryengland.uk