The countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway, meaning it's time to ensure your decorations are in tip-top condition.
Choosing the right Christmas tree will be a central part of this.
If you're looking to choose a real one but want to make sure you pick the right one, try following these tips from Mark Sage, Christmas Tree Buyer, Wyevale Garden Centres...
1. Don't leave it until the last minute to buy your tree. They will most likely all get cut at the same time - for instance, Wyevale cut theirs between late October and early November. This means that if you buy early, you will ensure you get the widest selection and subsequently, you can start to care for your tree as soon as possible.
2. Try to find a tree that has already had the netting removed for display - this allows you to see the shape and be confident that the tree has been looked after. If the tree gets left in netting, it can start forming a micro climate, where the centre will warm up, subsequently leaving them more prone to needle drops and shortening the lifespan.
3. The tree's needles should be a dark green instead of a pale, washed out shade. They should also be waxy to the touch, and not feel dry. Mark Sage, the Head of Trading and Horticulture at Wyevale, suggests stroking the tree so you can see how easily the needles come off.
4. Are you worried about needle-dropping? Then choose a variety of tree that is known for retaining its needles - for instance, the Nordman Fir.
5. If you're looking for a hack to keep your tree fresher for longer, chop or saw a few centimetres off the bottom and soak it in a bucket of water outside, for overnight or as long as possible before bringing it inside.
6. After bringing your Christmas tree inside, be sure to fill the stand with water - this will let you keep on feeding the needles.
7. Keep your tree out of any direct sunlight, draughts and heat from radiators and fireplaces - this will mean it doesn't dry out which would shorten its life. Another tip - try using LED tree lights. It emits less heat and will be better for the environment too.
Lead image courtesy of Wyevale Garden Centres