Tips to get the best from your Christmas tree ...

Norway spruce
Norway spruce
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There’s nothing more traditional at Christmas than a real tree taking pride of place in your home, writes Yvonne Harbutt, of Rougham Hall Nurseries.

To ensure you get the most enjoyment from your tree it is important to select a fresh specimen and take care to keep it looking its best throughout Christmas. Here are a few tips to help you make your ideal selection.

Before you venture out, start at home by deciding where your tree will be placed. A

void spots close to heat sources like fireplaces, radiators and TVs, as they will dry out the tree quicker. It is always advisable to measure the space, height and width – to give you a good indication of what size tree you will need to select.

Choose a local nursery or farm who have regularly cut trees to select from, this will ensure you purchase the freshest trees possible in your area.

There are different varieties available to choose from - Norway Spruce and Nordmann Fir are still the most popular. Norway Spruce is a traditional tree, with its finer needles, bushy habit and pine fragrance it offers a festive scent and look we all know and love.

The Nordmann Fir has softer needles and a more open habit, its scent is not as strong as the spruce, but still offers a fresh smell of the fir- it also has less needle drop, a very popular choice.

Other varieties include Scots Pine, Fraser Fir and Blue Spruce.

To check the freshness of a tree, take hold of a branch and pull gently towards you, allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. Most, if not all of the needles should stay on the tree and feel ‘springy’ to the touch. Branches should be pliable and bend without much resistance. Lifting and dropping the tree on a hard surface should not result in a shower of green needles. Don’t be concerned if a few brown needles drop from underneath, this is perfectly normal. Trees should smell fresh and have a rich green colour.

Once you get your tree home, cut about 1cm off the base of the trunk. This fresh cut will enable water to travel up the trunk and keep the tree hydrated. Stand it outside in sheltered position, in a bucket of water, until ready to bring indoors. This will help the tree retain its moisture.

Choose a stand or container that can hold water, making sure the water doesn’t fall below the fresh cut base as this will cause the base to form a seal.

Remember, trees are very thirsty, they can drink between 0.5 and two litres of water every day, so it is important to check the water level regularly and top up as necessary.

If you have chosen a potted tree you will still need to water on a regular basis.

Once the festivities are over, dispose of your tree responsibly. Find out about local recycling schemes through the local authorities.

At Rougham Hall Nurseries we offer help and advice with selecting your Christmas tree.

We are happy to spend time with you to select your ideal tree. Trees are available from 27th November.

Norway Spruce, Nordmann - sizes range from 4ft up to 10ft in height. Potted trees also available.