Shopping for real Christmas trees
Our beautiful fresh cut Christmas trees are now in stock. Matthew is in the plant team and has more than 5 years of gardening experience. He shares his top tips on how to select a good one.
Question: What do I look for when shopping for a real Christmas tree? I want it to be as fresh and long-lasting as possible...
Answer: You should have a clear idea of how tall and wide the Christmas tree should be. Ideally, measure your space beforehand! Once you are inside the shop, you can gauge the amount of foliage of each tree. Full-looking and symmetrical shapes are what you want.
When the trees are wrapped, they tend to resemble an hourglass. This often a good indicator of volume without having to open the wrapping. At Mid Ulster GC we stock the Fraser fir variety. Compared to other types it is denser, has fuller foliage and finer branches, thus offering better value for your money and making decoration easier. Fraser fir also retains their needles particularly well.
Question: How can you tell if the tree will be fresh enough to last me until Christmas?
Answer: For the untrained eye, it is recommended you gently pull at the branches. Pulling the branches towards yourself is a good indicator at the overall plant condition. If needles come off in your hand you should leave that one and move onto the next. As a plants person, my eyes would be drawn to the base of the tree especially when they are wrapped as you can get a better look at the bottom branches. If there is a lot of browning or bare parts that would indicate the tree is in distress. The lower branches tend to start to die back first in order to prolong the life of the rest of the tree.
Keep in mind that reputable suppliers cut and ship their trees as freshly as possible and typically offer better consistency in quality.
Question: So far so good! After I have bought my tree, what should I do to keep it fresh? I have heard cautionary tales about having to replace Christmas trees a week before Christmas...
Answer: The most important things are to keep the tree watered. You may have to top up the saucer below every 2/3 days depending on temperature of your room. Once you got the tree home and unwrapped it, shake it down gently (do this outdoors to minimise mess); trim an inch off the bottom of the tree to aid water absorption, (similar to what you do with fresh flowers...we can help you with the initial trimming at the Garden Centre). Fill the tree stand with water, and - ideally - keep the tree away from the fireplace and radiators.
Christmas tree stand, £12.99
Question: Great! I can't wait to get started! If I get the tree in the last week of November, it should last me through Christmas?
Answer: Correct. If your tree is sufficiently watered and placed away from a heat source it will do well!
Some Fraser Firs have just arrived at our store - fresh from the forest! They range from 6ft to 9ft and are priced between £44.99 and £65. While you are tree-browsing, have a look at our decoration ornaments and lighting options too.
Question: Christmas trees aside – what do you like about your work?
Answer: I really like outdoor work and the variety of tasks. Here at Mid Ulster Garden Centre, apart from keeping plants nice and healthy we have free rein in creative expression, from decorating the shop floor to fine-tuning the customer experience; I don’t think I can get this combination of outdoor work and business development from a regular desk job. And then of course there is the sense of achievement in seeing your plants, which you invested so much time and effort in cultivating, grow and prosper. It is definitely a labour of love!