‘Tis the season for Christmas decorations, trees, sprigs of holly and mistletoe and lights and baubles. Here are some handy tips to keep your tree looking good all holiday season:
1. Give your tree a drink in a bucket of water as soon as you get home. Much like cut flowers, the tree will absorb water into its leaves through the trunk.
2. Don’t place your Christmas tree by a radiator – or it will shed its needles.
3. Keep the tree cool. All these evergreen firs have adapted to cope with cold winter weather and will react to heat – even what we consider to be low background central heating – with panic, dropping their leaves in order to conserve moisture. A cool, draughty hallway is ideal.
4. Invest in a cast-iron tree holder with a reservoir and keep it topped up daily with water.
5. Take your tree to the shredder so it can be recycled.
6. If you buy a tree with roots, pot it into a large container and fill with sharpsand or compost. Sand is perfectly good for the few weeks that the tree will be indoors. Place the pot onto a tray, then water it well and keep the sand moist.
7. If you must plant your Christmas tree, the first requirement is healthy and substantial roots. Spruces are surface rooting, which means that the roots lie just under the soil and grow sideways. So the longer these are when you buy it, the more chance of its subsequent survival. Plant it as soon as you can after Christmas – in a damp, shady spot (do not bother on chalky or alkaline soil as it will never be happy or thrive), and do not expose the bare roots for more than a minute. Stake it with a short support placed into the prevailing wind at 45 degrees and mulch thickly with compost. Keep it watered and weed-free for at least two years.