Frequently Asked Questions
(Q) Is it normal for my tree to lose some needles when I have just got it?
(A) Trees naturally shed needles all year round. Some dropping of older, interior needles is normal. However, if the overall colour is faded, the bark of the outer twigs is wrinkled and the green, exterior needles easily fall when touched, it is excessively dry and has not been watered enough.
(Q) Do I really need to saw the bottom of the tree trunk?
(A) If you can this really does help to prolong the lifespan of the tree and will really help it to retain its needles longer. After several hours exposed to air the tree forms a protective layer over the cut surface which will prevent it from being able to drink water. A fresh cut will remove this.
(Q) How much should I cut off?
(A) Half an inch is all that is necessary to allow the tree to take up water again.
(Q) Should I cut the tree base at an angle or taper it?
(A) No. For maximum water uptake the tree should be cut perpendicular to its trunk. Angling reduces the surface area of plant tissue that absorbs water molecules. Once the water level falls below the exposed surface on a tapered trunk, drying will begin. It also makes the tree more difficult to hold upright in a stand and less stable.
Q) I have been recommended to add fertiliser or aspirin to the water to help my tree last longer. Will this really help?
(A) No! Home remedies as well as commercial concoctions can actually increase needle loss and reduce moisture retention. Research has shown that plain tap water is needed. Water holding stands that are kept filled with plain water will extend the freshness of trees for weeks.
(Q) What size of stand should I buy?
(A) It is important to buy the correct size for maximum stability. A tree can topple over if the stand is too large or too small. It is preferable to choose one with a large water reservoir rather than a small cup as the tree will drink a lot of water especially in the first week and a small water bowl would need to be refilled several times a day.
(Q) Why does my tree not seem to be drinking the water any more?
The rate of absorption will vary from day to day. The best way to assess whether the tree is drying out is to check the tree itself rather than the water level in the stand. However if the water level has been allowed to fall below the base of the trunk the tree could have sealed up and this would reduce water take up.
(Q) Do real trees cause fires?
(A) Trees freshly cut consist of 50% water and are extremely hard to ignite as anyone who has tried to light a campfire with green wood will confirm. A properly watered tree is virtually impossible to set alight. A tree will never cause a fire, but faulty lights may do so always test these prior to use.
(Q) Should I be worried about insects in my tree?
(A) This is not a common problem but as trees spend most of their life outdoors there may be some small insects or spiders. Giving the tree a good shake should remove most of these. Insect sprays suitable for use on houseplants can be used if any insects remain, but remember to switch the lights off while using any spray on a Christmas tree.
(Q) Which species of tree is the best?
(A) The best tree is the one you like best! Everyone has different taste and expectations of what the perfect tree should look like. It depends on whether needle retention, appearance or fragrance is the most important factor for you.
(Q) Which tree smells the best?
(A) Smell is a subjective sense and people can smell things differently to others. Generally though Nordman Firs have a light citrus smell, whereas the Fraser Fir is considered to have a fruity aroma and the Norway Spruce has a very strong smell that is considered by many to be the classic smell of Christmas.
(Q) Am I killing a tree and harming the environment by having a real tree?
(A) Christmas trees are grown as a crop and were planted with the purpose of being cut down and several saplings will be planted to replace each tree cut down for Christmas. They are carbon neutral and totally biodegradable. While a tree grows it absorbs Carbon Dioxide and emits Oxygen, helping the environment. The alternative is a plastic (a non-biodegradable and non-renewable resource) tree imported from half way around the world that will end its life in a land fill site. Your real tree will be locally grown and can be recycled after use to create fertiliser to enrich soil.
(Q) How do I recycle my tree after Christmas?
(A) There are now many companies that offer a tree collection service where you can arrange to have your tree collected and recycled. This can even be booked online with tree delivery companies. Some local councils also offer a tree collection service. Check with your council for dates and instructions.