Christmas tree: Expert shares advice on caring for trees

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It’s officially Christmas and with homes being decked with festive trees and decorations, just how do you keep your real tree looking good throughout the holiday’s? Here Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express, offers his tips on what you should be doing to make sure your Christmas tree lasts the celebrations.

Traditionally, our Christmas trees should already be up and the festivities underway. Advent began on Sunday 27th November – the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

But just how do you keep the tree looking good throughout the holiday season? There are a number of tricks to keep your tree in decent condition while still enjoying the long holiday season.

How to look after your Christmas tree

Buy a healthy tree to begin with

This is an obvious one – the healthier your tree is when you buy it, the longer it will last. If you’re about to go tree shopping, there’s one simple trick to check just how good it is.

Try running your hands through the branches and if any brown needles fall off avoid this tree. Another trick is to buy a tree that is in some shade – this tree will be used to having less sun so it won’t be too much of a change when you transfer it inside.

Keep it away from heat and lights

No living plant responds well to intense heat. Placing your tree too close to a bright light, radiator or fireplace means it will dry out quicker.

Instead, find a spot where your tree can get a few hours of natural light each day and if it’s by a radiator, turn it down. Also try spritzing water over your tree regularly to keep it hydrated but avoid spraying any electrical lights or decorations for health and safety reasons.

Opt for LED lights

A Christmas tree has to be covered in glittering lights but normal lights let off a lot of heat which can dry out the tree. If you are putting lights on your tree, consider LED lights.

Not only do they let off less heat but they’re also more efficient and give the tree a softer glow. Easier too to turn on and off – no crawling under the tree to find the plug socket.

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Trim the bottom of your tree before placing it in water

When you purchase your tree, the seller will already have cut the bottom of it. But before putting the tree up, it’s a good idea to give it another cut. Sap will form at the base of the trunk from the first trim in an attempt to heal the tree’s wound. Giving it another trim before placing it in water will remove this, allowing for much better water consumption.

Check the water level every day

You might be surprised by how much water your tree will consume. They can drink up to several litres of water in the first couple of weeks. Christmas trees will typically consume around one to two litres of water a day so make sure you keep an eye on water levels and top this up when necessary.

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