Guide to pick the perfect Christmas tree

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Chris Bonnett is the founder of Gardening Express

Putting up the Christmas tree is a sign that the festive season is well and truly here, and if you love the smell and look of a real tree, picking a good one is essential. But how do you pick out the perfect tree? There are a few things to bear in mind when you go shopping.

Always think about the space you have and how big, or small the tree needs to be. The last thing you want is a huge tree dwarfing the room, or one that looks tiny in the corner. Even worse, a tree that you need to prune so it fits.

And think about how you’re going to get it home! If you don’t have a car or transport available, it can be tricky. Worth roping in a friend or family member with a car to give you a hand. As well as these practical pieces of advice, there are some checks you can make when you’re choosing your tree to make sure it’s healthy and right for you.

How to pick the perfect Christmas tree

Check the colour

The first and most obvious thing to check when buying your tree is the colour of it. Take a good look at the whole tree to check for any grey or brown colouring. You want your tree to be green.

The drop test

Checking the needles of a tree is the best indication as to what sort of condition it’s in and one way to test this is with the drop test. Hold the tree a few inches above the ground and drop it, if quite a few needles fall off then the tree is not fresh and it’s time to look for another one.

Run your hands through the branches

Another way to check the needles of a tree is to run your hands through the branches and see how many fall off. It’s common for some of the internal needles to fall off, but the exterior ones should remain intact.

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Pick a tree partly in shade

Picking a tree that is already partly in shade means that it won’t struggle to adapt when you move in doors since it’s already been kept away from some sun.

Know your trees

There’s a variety of Christmas trees out there to choose from and you can’t know what to look for if you don’t know what kind of tree you want. The most common tree that people buy nowadays is the Nordmann Fir. But perhaps you want something more traditional like a Norway Spruce.

A Nordmann Fir is a great non-drop option. These trees are the kings of Christmas trees with their evenly spread, bushy branches and glossy deep green-blue needles. Adorned with all your family favourite decorations and soft lighting, this tree will be central to all your festive celebrations.

Another good choice is a Blue Spruce with its subtle pine fragrance. This lovely tree has grey-green needles which gives the tree character and your decorations a classy, sophisticated feel.

If you really fancy trying something different, how about a Mini Tree for a Christmas table centerpiece? These fragrant trees have been grown, nurtured and pruned to look just like mini Christmas trees. And the added bonus? When it warms up in Spring you can move them out into the garden.

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